It’s not that hard to unleash the power of a brilliant sign. The reality is, you just need to make the sign brilliant, or, in other words, bright and shiny. And that’s what city planners across the country, and across the Tri-Cities, are starting to do.
You can see a brilliant stop sign for yourself at the intersection of Deschutes and Center Parkway, near Sunset View Elementary in Kennewick. Sure, the stop sign was already bright red with obvious white lettering. But the addition of lights make it almost impossible to miss.
You may have to squint to see the LED lights in this daytime photo, but it really “pops” when you see it in person. I’m sure it is much more obvious at night, and if I’m lucky I’ll get a night photo to add to the end of this post.
It’s a fairly inexpensive modification to add the LED lights as well as a solar-powered battery pack for nighttime use, but the safety benefits are enormous. LED lighting around stop signs has been shown to significantly reduce collisions due to a failure to see and stop at the sign.
In fact, a Minnesota study found a 42% decrease in T-bone collisions after installing these LED stop signs at problematic intersections. Another study by the Texas Transportation Institute found similar reductions in people who blew through the signs.
I think it’s great that the cities are increasing the visibility of stop signs in certain areas, and I really appreciate the flashing crosswalks that have been added across town. The move is literally brilliant! However, like most things, it seems that the more we see it, the less we tend to notice it.
So, even though they can work in select areas, or in a limited fashion, it really underscores the fact that we need to continue to encourage driving without distraction.
Have you noticed an increase in distracted driving? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments section.