On my road trip this week, I noticed that I-95 and the interstates in Norfolk have sprouted a large crop of traffic alert signs.  They’re all along the I-95 corridor south of Springfield, for example.  The signs are supposed to alert drivers to upcoming traffic problems.

Unfortunately, it seems that the signs themselves cause traffic issues.  Nearly every time I passed a sign, it was at slow speed.  At first, I couldn’t figure out why drivers kept slowing down when there were no traffic problems.  Finally, I linked the slowdowns to the traffic alert signs.  More than once, I watched drivers slam on their brakes to avoid rear-ending the (slow) vehicle in front of them.  Maybe I’m a faster reader than most, but I couldn’t see the need to slow down for each and every sign.

Then, as I mentioned in my last post, I discovered that “tunnel blocked” messages were left up on signs pertaining to the Hampton Roads and Monitor-Merrimac Bridge-Tunnels in Norfolk.  I don’t know quite what the problem was, but I noticed this issue on two signs, each pertaining to a different tunnel.  I changed my driving plan based on the first sign.  Imagine if I’d done that a second time and dragged my family all the way west to the James River Bridge…for nothing.

I’m sure the signs were designed to be helpful tools, but they need to be well-spaced and properly maintained to help instead of hinder drivers.