Has anyone ever thought about the amount of shite at the side of Irish roads?
I’m not talking about the old mattresses, supermarket trolleys and other stuff that has just been dumped.
No. I’m talking about the number of signs.
It never really struck me until I saw the alternative – a road system where signs are only erected if they are essential.
Take a drive on any road in Ireland and you will be accosted by signs warning you to put your seat belt on. You will see signs proudly proclaiming the number of deaths in the last couple of years, as if it were some kind of all-Ireland fucking competition. You will see signs exhorting you to tune into some local radio for “traffic information”. There are signs advertising Bed and Breakfasts, “Tourist Attractions”, festivals, local pubs and every fucking thing under the sun.
If there is some kind of match on, of course you will find a clatter of irritating signs saying that “so and so’s bar wishes The Lads all the best in Dublin” or some such shite.
And when you are done with all the above, you may even be lucky and find one that tells you that “Jesus loves you”.
All these signs do is distract. When you are supposed to be concentrating on the road ahead, you are reading some fucking useless sign telling you that Ballygobackwards is holding its village fete two months ago.
My award winner is one I saw some months ago on the M50, which [for non-Irish readers] is a lethal “motorway” [more often a car park] that circles Dublin. It was a huge monstrosity of a sign with flashing lights that spelled out different messages if you watched it long enough. It’s main message was to watch out for the car in front! Of course, most motorists would be concentrating too much on the sign to see its next message to bother about the car in front.
In France there is a remarkable lack of signage.
On the main routes, you will find massive gantries straddling the road, telling you which lane to be in for various destinations. At junctions, you will find large signs telling you where the side roads go.
They tend not to bother much with warning signs, as they assume a reasonable level of intelligence in the driver. So if you see a sign warning of a bad bend, you had better fucking believe it – it will be a bad bend.
Speed limits are well signposted, to such an extent that they even give advanced warning of a limit.
I wonder if anyone has ever actually done a survey into the number of accidents that are caused by Irish signage?
Maybe they should introduce a new one?
Reading signs is a hazard