Interesting Street Sign

One day while I was returning from work, I took a detour to complete an errand. One of the side streets had a very interesting speed sign – 19 miles / hour bend.

Why would anyone have 19 mph? – just make it 20 – i still don’t get it. Do you?

— Thyaga


One Response

  1. Very interesting indeed. I saw one of these in Colorado and was quite amused (and interested to find out the reason behind such a speed limitation). After talking to a few traffic police cops (not while getting a ticket), this is what I figured:

    The idea:
    “The fact that your mind actually categorically noted and remembered this specific speed sign from the myriad of others you see every day already proves how effective this 19 mph sign is.”

    – this is just a clever implementation of a simple human psychology: our brain almost always recognizes (and keeps it in long term memory) patterns that are strikingly different than what it expects to encounter normally.

    So, if a specific bend / crossing is notorious for speeding motorcyclists / bicycles / cars (in the case of the sign I saw in Colorado), a street sign that we do not expect to see normally triggers a powerful auto-suggestion to your brain.

    Some other choices that traffic signs in such cases could have:
    A. picture of a child being hit by a fast car : suggesting violence
    B. big red (color coding) sign with some comment : suggesting danger
    C. number of accidents that occurred in the past year at this bend being displayed : suggesting guilt
    D. some clever comment that you may be interested to read (and naturally slow down) : suggesting inquisition

    My guess is in this case the city council did not permit any of the above and went for the easiest one : 19 mph !

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