Does Mexico do a Better Job with Road Signs than the USA?

While instructing on an advanced driving course recently in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, I briefly found it funny when I saw this sign but after a few moments of humor I was more dismayed than amused.  Read on and you’ll find out why.

Photograph of a text-based road sign that reads 'Draw Bridge Ahead'.
The humor of this sign comes from the fact that it should be just one word:  “Drawbridge”.  To write ‘draw bridge ahead’ is an instruction to get your sketchbook and pencils ready!  But using text instead of images on traffic signs is actually an issue that harms road safety.  See the accompanying article.  (Copyright image, 2018.)

Sixty-nine years ago, back in 1949, the United Nations drew up a ‘Protocol on Road Signs and Signals.’  Goals of the protocol included uniformity of all road signs, signals and surface markings around the world, to make it easier for foreign visitors to understand traffic signs wherever they happened to be driving.  In the same context there has always been a push for sign makers to use images rather than text on road signs, so that it is even easier to understand the signs.

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Puzzling or Inaccurate Road Signs: No.1

Unclear or inaccurate traffic signs, road signs, pavement markings or road markings — call them what you prefer — can cause confusion or even danger.

Here’s one from Colorado, photographed in May 2018, but what exactly does it mean?

Photograph of a road sign that reads: "In case of flood climb to safety."
Confusing traffic signs: What exactly does this mean? Climb onto the roof of your car? Somehow try to get to a tree and assuming you are young, strong and nimble, climb that? Swim for the nearest hillside? The ONLY safe message in relation to road vehicles is do not drive into water that is covering the road and is either flowing or may be deeper than it looks. (Copyright image, 2018.)

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