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Differences Between Effective and Ineffective Road Signs

August 16, 2018

Road signs help drivers know where they are and where they are going. Some signs, however, are more effective than others. Some keys to effectiveness are durable material, reflective qualities during day and night, and a clear message. Zumar, a family sign company, has been in business for decades because it makes sure its signs make sense to clients and drivers. Here are factors to check to make sure signs surrounding your property are communicating properly to drivers.

Durable Material

Signs made out of aluminum have much more durability than signs made of wood or plastic. Certain metal can rust, however, which is why many organizations choose aluminum, since it is rust-free. Signs still need to be inspected from time to time by professionals like those at Zumar who can assess when they should be replaced. If the sign is printed on coated aluminum, it should have a lifespan of five to seven years. This coating made of hard plastic known as polyethylene will protect the sign from chipping, cracking or becoming rusty. Sign thickness also plays a role in longevity. The typical thickness of standard U.S. signs ranges from .04 to .125 inches.

Reflective Material

In order for a sign to be as effective as possible, it must be easy to read at any time of the day. If the sign is not visible at night, it will be ineffective and pose dangerous conditions. Plastic coating applied to aluminum signs is the key to making signs shiny and reflective at all times. Reflective signs can be used for indoor as well as outdoor applications and are designed to withstand any type of weather. Ask your sign designer at Zumar about proper care and cleaning of reflective signs to maximize durability.

Clear Message

It’s impossible for a message to work if it’s misunderstood. While signs with images are often the quickest and clearest way to communicate a certain message, some images may not be understood by certain drivers, particularly travelers from other regions who have never seen such signs before. Confusing images, therefore, can nullify the intent to communicate a simple message. Highway signs devoted to truckers in deserts, for example, might not make sense to a motorcyclist from another state.

When planning sign messages, it is vital to take into account that not everyone is a sign expert. However, most drivers understand the purpose of signs and know they should pay attention to messages directed specifically at them. Everyone knows what “slow down” means on a yellow diamond sign. So it’s usually helpful to stick with standard signs unless there’s a reason to give more details. Custom signs are optional for posting near or on your property, as long as you keep in mind the factors that affect how messages are perceived.

If a sign is obscured by trees, shade, or other obstructions, its location should be rethought. Moving the sign is an option, as well as clearing obstructions. If the lettering on the sign has faded due to sun exposure, it should be replaced.

Road signs help traffic flow in an orderly fashion, as long as the messages can be seen and understood by drivers at all times of the day. For more information about posting signs on your property, contact Zumar at our Arizona, California or Washington locations.

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