7 Billboards You’ll (probably) Never See Day One: Put Down The Damn Phone
So, we thought we’d have a little fun with billboards now that technology has made it possible to be a little more creative with the graphics. We drove around town taking pictures of seven different billboards with different perspectives and then played with them just a little bit. Okay, we played with them a lot. Bonus points if you actually recognize any of the locations.
Today’s billboard is an intentional dichotomy, a distraction warning against distraction. There’s no question that billboards can be distracting; they’re actually designed to take one’s attention. However, messages on billboards are short. Signs alongside a highway, where cars are passing at anywhere between 55 and 70 miles per hour, need copy that can be read in the blink of an eye, less than a second. A sign for a popular brand may only need a picture of a product and basic instruction, i.e. McDonald’s, next exit. Signs positioned at a traffic light can take a little longer, but even then the goal is less than five seconds.
What may be worse, though, is that despite knowing the dangers of driving while distracted, and despite the fact that doing so is illegal in a number of states, we can’t seem to stop ourselves. When that notification sound goes off, it has the same effect on our brains as if a fire alarm had sounded: we simply cannot wait to check the message because it might be an emergency. Not that we have any reason to anticipate an emergency, just the vague potential is enough to justify grabbing the phone and taking a quick peek … then going ahead and reading the whole message. And then replying to that message.
Automobile manufacturers are beginning to include hands-free technology that connects one’s phone to a display on the console and will even read messages to you and allow the driver to respond verbally in hopes of reducing the number of accidents caused by distracted driving. Yet, the real solution lies within everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car: put down the damn phone and drive. Look at the world around you, for better or worse. Pay attention to the road. Save a life.
You really don’t need a billboard to tell you that, do you?