No Joke: Humorous Traffic Signs are on their way OUT

Published on January 25, 2024

A TXDOT highway sign saying only Rudolph should drive lit. Photo by: Rebecca Flores “Only Rudolph Should Drive Lit.” As a San Antonio driver, maybe you looked up from your steering wheel during the holiday and saw this message along Highway 281, Interstate-10 or Interstate-35. Cutesy comments from our TxDOT traffic folks will be a thing of the past, thanks to changes in federal law.

“Messages with obscure or secondary meanings, such as those with popular culture references, unconventional sign legend syntax, or that are intended to be humorous, should not be used as they might be misunderstood or understood only by a limited segment of road users and require greater time to process and understand.” –MUTCD 11TH Edition

If you've ever wondered how our streets become safer for everyone, buckle up because we're about to dive into the exciting world of the 11th edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD). Seriously! This new manual makes significant strides toward ensuring all our road users are safer.

Clearer Communication Through Signage

The elimination of the tongue-in-cheek Rudolph sign is an example of the new MUTCD edition’s emphasis on clearer communication through signage. You'll notice an enhanced visibility of traffic signs, ensuring that vital information is conveyed more effectively to drivers. Road signs are expected to be clearer and easier to understand; whether it's a stop sign, speed limit sign, or directional sign.

High-Tech Traffic Lights

Look out for updated traffic signals that respond dynamically to real-time traffic conditions, optimizing traffic flow and minimizing congestion. They know when to change colors based on real-time traffic, making sure everything flows smoothly and your commute is smoother and safer.

Pedestrian-Friendly Crosswalks

For our pedestrians, the new edition introduces improved crosswalk designs aimed at enhancing safety. With clearer markings and increased visibility, pedestrians can navigate intersections with confidence, reducing the risk of crashes.

Standardized Pavement Markings

Have you ever noticed the colorful markings on the road? Well, now they follow a special code! The new MUTCD makes sure all road markings look the same across the country. It's like having a secret language for drivers – everyone speaks the same road talk.

Accommodating Vulnerable Road Users

Recognizing the importance of accommodating all road users, the latest edition prioritizes features that benefit cyclists and pedestrians. From designated bike lanes to improved pedestrian crossings, these changes promote a more inclusive and safer road environment.

Don’t look for these subtle changes anytime soon on your daily commute – States and municipalities like San Antonio have two years to adopt these new standards in the MUTCD. But keep an eye out for them! Your safety matters, and the MUTCD 11th edition is a significant step towards ensuring a secure and reliable road network for everyone.