Surplus Signs Driving Motorists to Distraction

Too much information along roads may be creating a hazard
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2008 2:27 AM CDT
Road signs can make their own stretches of road safer, JOhn Staddon writes, but can, paradoxically, contribute to the road as a whole becoming more dangerous.   (Magnum Photos)
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(Newser) – Drivers in America are often confronted with a forest of signs reminding them of speed limits and traffic control measures—but the overwhelming information may be making roadways more dangerous, John Staddon writes in the Atlantic. The glut of reminders can take drivers' attention away from the road and dull their judgment, resulting in more accidents.

Staddon thinks America can learn a lot from Britain, where roadways are uncluttered, speed limits are simplified and instructions to drivers are often painted on the road itself. Signs might make a little stretch of road a bit safer, "but collectively, the forests of signs along American roadways, and the multitude of rules to look out for, are quite deadly," he concludes.