Do we really need a sign?
You can’t see the forest because of the trees. Come on, open your eyes. You never find what you’re not looking for. We often hear about how important our eyesight is for a variety of things, but do we use it well enough considering that not everyone has the gift of sight?
One of the things I always try to reinforce to the students I teach driving at Young Drivers of Canada is to learn how to use their eyes effectively while driving. Learning to look ahead and predict what may happen and then respond early is the key to safe driving. But, do we always need signs to help warn us of dangerous intersections? Is it the intersection that’s dangerous or what the driver does at the intersection that’s dangerous?
I’ve seen a few signs like this one over the years and have often wondered if that sign changes how drivers treat the intersection. Do the drivers slow down a bit more and scan for other drivers just because the sign is there? Do we need a sign telling us that a certain intersection is dangerous or not? The interesting thing was that this sign was quite high up the pole and was in a poorly lit area. If I had to look away to read the sign at the wrong time, I could be late checking to see if the intersection was clear and a possible crash could occur.
The other thing to think about is why only have these signs at a few intersections? Why not at all of them? Would those signs lower the crash rate at intersections? Maybe those signs have caused some of the crashes because they became a distraction since drivers would have to look away from the driving task to read it? Who knows?
What I do know is that as drivers we need to rely upon our own effective seeing habits to warn us of potential danger. We need to continually look for potential dangers and respond early just in case it may affect us and not rely on a sign predicting trying to do it for us.