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Impact of illuminated traffic signs on road safety examined

Logo UHasselt Universiteit Hasselt - Knowledge in action

IMPACT OF ILLUMINATED TRAFFIC SIGNS ON ROAD SAFETY EXAMINED

You’ve certainly seen them before: illuminated traffic signs next to the road displaying moving messages. They catch the eye immediately and thus are exquisite for attracting attention. It comes as no surprise that more and more companies and traders bet on that medium.

Now that illuminated traffic signs pop up more frequently on Flemish roads, the Agency for Roads and Traffic (AWV) questions its impact on road safety. Do drivers still pay attention to the road? Or are they too distracted by the illuminated traffic signs? IMOB sorted it out.

During a driving simulator study, IMOB-researchers confronted 40 test subjects with several illuminated billboards. They let the signs pop up in different settings (town-centre/ road shopping environment) and displayed advertising messages alternately fast and slow. Finally, they varied distances between the illuminated traffic signs and traffic points, where drivers need to pay extra attention, such pedestrian crossings.

Our analyses pointed out that illuminated traffic signs influence the looking and driving behaviour of the subjects, which has  - in its turn - an impact on road safety. Based on these results, IMOB formulated several recommendations for the guidelines framework that the Agency for Roads and Traffic (AWV) is preparing for those billboards.

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