Do LED Signs Distract Drivers?Email this post to a friend.
We see LED signs everywhere these days; in storefront windows, display booths, traffic alert signage and even traffic signals. They’re used as ambient lighting in many office buildings and even in homes replacing traditional incandescent and fluorescent lighting. Besides all of these more practical applications, we also see LED signage dotting the landscape on freeways and atop large buildings in the city. LEDs can perform a myriad of tasks and can be programmed to display single or multiple line messages, company logos and information and even display videos on small to very large scale.
Lights on the Highway
When we travel on the highway, there are hundreds of things that can distract us from driving such as traffic, bright daylight or sunlight and even bright lights from buildings and signage on the highway. Since the advent of LED signage, controversy has arisen to the safety of having LED signage on public thoroughfares. Many cities are using LED signs to alert drivers to potential hazards or upcoming construction zones. They’re also used to alert drivers about missing children, weather conditions and other potentially important information. Businesses quickly adopted LED signage as a way to present attractive displays that could be seen for long distances and were relatively inexpensive to maintain and run. Companies like McDonald’s, Best Buy and other similar chains have large signs dotting the highways, which display various things such as menu item specials and sale information. These signs can be truly amazing to look at; but may certainly be a distraction to the driver.
Hard to Ignore
When you’re driving down the interstate, you’re likely to see one or more of the estimated 1,500 digital billboards nationwide that dot our highways. These huge digital billboards with messages and videos that change ads every few minutes are very difficult to ignore. Over the years, studies were conducted by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and Tantala Associates, which determined that these signs posed no real threat to drivers; however, these studies were funded by the association who creates these signs. Many local municipalities are rethinking laws regarding digital billboards and other highway signage that may pose a threat to driver’s safety. Cities from Reno Nevada to Bonita Springs, FL are examining their sign codes to determine how bright the signs should be, where they should be placed or if they should be allowed at all.
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