Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationSafety · 1 decade ago

Why do they paint words on streets as if people can't see more than 10 feet ahead?

This has bugged me for years and I've never seen an official, logical explanation. People normally read from top to bottom, and when you drive, you're not supposed to ONLY look at what's immediately in front of your vehicle as you drive over it!

Yet, traffic notification words are typically painted as if to be read by very slow cars with drivers whose eyes are locked on the road a few feet in front of them, while ignoring everything that lies ahead. That's a ridiculous, unsafe way to drive, and also no logical way to paint road markings.

My only guess is that they are trying to account for other cars that may be covering up the remaining words, so you have to read them after those cars drive clear of them. But I've rarely found that to be applicable in real traffic situations.

I find myself being distracted (more than informed) by trying to read them from bottom to top as they stretch out ahead of me on the road. Of course the familiar ones are easy to recoginize, but the whole practice seems backwards.












Dan B, I suppose some people drive like lemmings, but it still doesn't account for most people's innate tendency to read from top to bottom when physically possible. I just wonder if some road engineers had a long debate on how to do it.

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    thats what happens when you take a car, lower it even more so it scrapes the bumps in the street, then you drive around trying to figure out where you are going. low cars, make visibility limited, most cars and trucks are at a height that it is easy to see the signs and figure out where to go, good luck get a taller car maybe.

  • Dan B
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Actually, many drivers have tunnel vision. They only look at the road immediately ahead of them. They are oblivious to signs that say "Lane Ends - Merge Left/Right", etc. These messages are there to warn drivers of a potential hazard. Just watch some drivers. They will make a last minute lane change for their upcoming turn. I've seen them cross 5 lanes of traffic just before their exit on the interstate! They've already passed the starting point of their exit lane before they decide their exit is at hand.

    They are of the appropriate size and spacing for vehicles who are NOT TAILGATING! It may seem backwards, but you read the words one at a time as you pass each word. So they are in sequence as you read them. Don't try to read the whole message at once.

  • 1 decade ago

    They are written in large visible from 10 ft away letters bottom to top for faster drivers, the thought being the larger letters will grab the attention and give people time to read them. They are meant to distract you so you will read them! People tend to claim that road signs are too small to read at high speeds.

  • 1 decade ago

    Maybe the practice began when cars were slower.

    Maybe you are supposed to read one word, then look up at the traffic ahead of you, then look down and read the next word, etc.

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  • 1 decade ago

    To give you information regarding the conditions you will be seeing ahead, and to get your attention.

    For example:

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