20 March, 2012

Motorway signs

I was travelling to London en famille last weekend when something caught my eye. You know those overhead motorway signs—the ones they use to advertise temporary problems or hazards on the road? Well, we passed under one which said ‘Caution – queues ahead at J5’ and then, a mile later, one which said ‘To junction 5: 10 miles; 10 minutes.’ Peculiar. Had the queues really cleared in the minute or so that it took us to get to the next sign, or had they forgotten to switch one of the warning signs off?

On the way back, we passed under another such sign, which told us to take our litter home. While this is of course a very laudable thought, I’m not sure that it’s optimum use of a motorway warning sign. And that got me thinking about all the other times when I’ve been travelling on the motorway and seen interesting things displayed on the warning signs. Messages wishing me a safe trip, telling me the ambient temperature, advertising local radio stations...

I wonder who loads the information onto these signs and I wonder whether their job is so boring that they amuse themselves with competitions to find the wackiest message on display that day.

Answers on a postcard, please.

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