Monday, November 5, 2012

"The speed limit might be 60. Then again it might not. Feeling uncertain yet?"

It seems people are driving too fast in some towns in the Netherlands. Local town councils are hard at work trying to think up ways to combat this dangerous problem.

What ideas have they come up with so far, you ask? A stronger police presence? Higher fines for speeding? More traffic cameras?

How about removing all the traffic signs. You know the ones. They’re those pesky signs that give you useless, distracting information like:

“Watch out for pedestrians!”
“Oncoming traffic!”
“Train crossing!”

I read about this in last week’s newspaper but I was so busy practicing my acceptance speech for when I win X-Factor (okay, not really – see here) that I’m only getting to share this piece of genius news with you today.

According to an article in the NRC Handelsblad, the thinking is that when people feel uncertain they have a natural tendency to slow down.

I’ve been uncertain for most of my life and I can tell you that it has only ever made me want to run away. The faster, the better.

The NRC article cited a few people who were skeptical about the proposed plan to deliberately toy with motorists’ confidence. A student who was asked for her opinion said she thought removing the signs might actually make things “dangerous.” But she’s probably just being silly.

The article ended with a quote from a “traffic psychologist” (Imagine that conversation: “Hi what do you do?” / “Oh me, I’m a psychologist” / “Oh how interesting. Can you analyze me?” / “Not unless you’re a 4x4.”). He seemed to be against removing the signs and said that instead, residents in the affected towns should come up with their own plan.  

Yes, in matters of life and death I think we should definitely always put it to a vote.

Schipluiden, one of the towns considering scrapping traffic signs. Maybe they should just scrap traffic and go back to horses. Photo from midden-delfland.