Category Archives: Traffic & Parking

3 common mistakes made when installing u-channel sign posts

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Don’t let your u-channel post installation look like this…

These signs look terrible. So, what happened here? I found three big mistakes when investigating the installation of these u-channel sign posts.  There might have been a fourth mistake as well.  I wasn’t there when they installed these posts, but they could’ve installed them crooked in the first place, but that is unlikely ..but that would be the fourth mistake.  Here are the known mistakes…

Mistake #1 was that they weren’t installed deep enough into the ground. I pulled one out and found they were only about 24 inches deep. In our area, posts should be 36 inches deep to get below the frost line and avoid something called “frost heave”.  The frost line is different in every area of the country. Do a google search for “frost line map” and you’ll find a map showing the depth of the frost line in your area. If you’ve ever squeezed a watermelon seed between your fingers and shot it across the room then you understand the principle behind “frost heave”.  Even in warm climates I’d go 36″ deep and then go even deeper for cold climates to get at least 3 or 4 inches below that area’s frost line.

Mistake #2 was going with a 1.12 lb post. A lot of people use these for signs, but their intended purpose is to hold reflective delineators. I see them used for signs everywhere. I recommend a 2 lb post for parking signs.  A 2 lb post is a post that if cut into a 1 foot long section would weigh 2lbs.  So, with that in mind you’ll see that the 2 lb post uses almost twice the steel of a 1.12 lb u-channel post.  When inspecting the posts pictured above, some were actually bent at the point where the post went into the ground.

Mistake #3 had nothing to do with how crooked these sign posts are.  Mistake #3 was how they installed their signs.  The posts make a “U” shape when viewed from above.  In that “U” shape, the sign would go along the top of the “U” and not the bottom.  When you bolt them against the bottom of the “U” shape they are less stable and can rock back and forth easier than if installed against the top of the “U” shape.

In conclusion, installing u-channel posts isn’t rocket science.  It is super easy if you’re aware of just a few common mistakes. Once you’re aware of the mistakes you’ll see just how common they are.

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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The Legality of Having a Car Towed

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Having a vehicle abandoned in a business parking lot can be a serious hassle. Not only is it an eyesore, but it is occupying valuable space that could be utilized by paying customers. There are numerous things that need to be taken into account before having a vehicle towed from a parking lot in order to ensure that you are doing so lawfully. Most cities and municipalities have their own laws regarding the towing of vehicles, which differ from city to city. Although most cities are fairly consistent with their signage regulations, there can be some subtle differences that call for the same situations to be handled differently in two cities.

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Understanding Signage Requirements

Before attempting to have a car towed it is important that you have an understanding of the signage requirements for your local community. There are several laws that are consistently seen in cities around the country. Some of the more common signage laws include:

  • Determine Necessity: While most places of business will require appropriate signage to tow cars from their property, it is not always necessary. For instance, owners of rental properties with four or less units are not always required to post notices in order to remove vehicles that block their driveway or parking area.
  • Posted at Entrance: Most cities require that businesses place their parking notices at all publicly-accessible vehicle entrances to a property. The sign should be visible, and easily seen upon entrance, without obstructions.
  • Sign Sizes: Not all municipalities have requirements regarding the size of parking signs, but some do. In example, The State of New Jersey recently passed a law that requires all parking signs posted at entrances to be 36 inch x 36 inch. Many cities have requirements that the sign be no smaller than 18 inch x 24 inch. Make sure signs are placed at the motorists eye-level so they are easily noticed.
  • Sign Maintenance: Most cities and municipalities have requirements that parking-related signs on private property be maintained in order to be visible. This means that signs can not have faded lettering, discoloration, and must be cleaned or replaced when vandalized. Most signs are made from weather-resistant materials, which should reduce maintenance costs in the long term.
  • Visibility: There are often visibility requirements for parking signs as well. Signs must be made from a reflective material that is visible at night, and have lettering large enough to read while driving. Most towns specify a minimum letter height for all lettering on no-parking signs
  • Statements: There are several features that parking signs must include to be considered legal in most municipalities. Your parking signs should include who the parking area is for. For instance, a sign that reads “Customer Parking Only” would meet this requirement. Additionally, towing signs need to include the name of the towing company, the telephone number of the company, and the address of the location in which the vehicle can be reclaimed from.

Public vs Private

While having a car on private property relocated is the common scenario, occasionally a business owner may need to relocate a vehicle parked on a public roadway if it is blocking the entrance to their business. In this situation, the business must work in conjunction with the police department to have the car towed and remove the obstruction.

Events

For businesses that are located in a heavily populated urban area – there are usually certain considerations that must be taken into account for large scale events. Many cities will have specific regulations for events including ensuring that parking signs have been posted in advance of the event (usually 24-48 hours), and also how quickly event-specific signage must be removed from the location. Every city has their own parking, towing and signage laws that are tailored specifically for large-scale events.

Almost all businesses have to deal with abandoned or illegally parked vehicles in their parking lots at some point. By looking ahead and making sure that the city’s regulations are explicitly followed, these situations can be dealt with more quickly. Although regulations differ from city to city, they are usually relatively similar in basic requirements.

Sources:

http://www.sandiego.gov/specialevents/pdf/NoParkingSignageandTowing.pdf

http://www.alphabetsigns.com/blog/sign-guidelines-towing-a-vehicle-from-your-private-property/

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/about/datafeeds.shtml#ParkingReg

http://www.myparkingsign.com/blog/distance-between-parking-signs/

http://ladot.lacity.org/WhatWeDo/Parking/index.htm

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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Great Outdoors Month – Regulatory Signs In National Parks As A Conservation Effort

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National Park Service updates to signs help provide enjoyment, safety & environmental conservation

June is Great Outdoors Month

It’s June, and ever since 2013, that means it’s Great Outdoors Month. President Obama proclaimed it, and governors from all 50 states followed suit with their own Great Outdoors Month proclamations outlining the beauty of their states’ scenic sites and National Parks, as well as efforts to be made in conservation and environmental stewardship.

While it wasn’t specifically spelled out in the president’s Great Outdoors Month proclamation, it can be assumed that the replacement and maintenance of the signs along the more-than 14,000 miles of trails, and the regulatory signs along the 8,000 miles of roads by the NPS will figure into any conservation plans.

According to an order put forth by former NPS director Frances Mainella, the NPS oversees 800,000 signs along its roadways and trails. In correspondence between then-Director Mainella and J. Richard Capka from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in 2006, there was an agreement that all regulatory signs along motor routes would be brought up to an updated standard by the NPS by December 31, 2015.

Brief history of signs in the National Parks

According to a chapter on signs in an NPS manual, early Native American trailblazers would tie branches down to the tree trunk as a means of marking trails for those who followed. French fur trappers created “lop trees” along their trade routes. In essence, signs have always been used as a means for finding one’s way in the wilderness.

The NPS was founded in 1916, and by 1920 it had its first set of guidelines for park signage. These guidelines have been updated several times; in 1940, 1972 and 1988. It was in 1988 that the standards for regulatory signs and other signage along motorways were first addressed. This modernized the roads through the National Parks – in a way – but there were still special considerations to be made about the messages posted along NPS motorways.

Regulatory signs on roads in the National Parks

According to the NPS sign manual from 1988, the roads of the National Parks are overseen by the NPS, as is the placement and maintenance of signs along roads and trails. This includes the placement and maintenance of regulatory signs, such as stop signs, and other signs designed to manage traffic flow and driver instructions.

According to the 2006 correspondence between the NPS director, and an administrator from the FHWA, the updates to signs are as follows:

  • Colors on National Parks regulatory signs shall be uniform with FHWA regulations.
  • Regulatory sign colors may deviate along the roads in campgrounds, so long as they are submitted to the FHWA for approval under the rules about experimental signs in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).
  • Park entrance and facility identification signs have their own separate standard lain out in the UniGuide Sign Standards manual, and are approved by the FHWA so long as they match the UniGuide standards.
  • Regulatory signs maintained by the NPS must meet FHWA sheeting material, and nighttime visibility standards.

While the importance of the visibility and uniformity of regulatory signs along the roads in the National Parks can’t really be debated, the use of any signage must stay consistent with the mission of the NPS, which is to preserve and protect many of our nation’s areas of scenic and cultural significance. Therefore, care must be taken that the use of regulatory signs doesn’t amount to “sign pollution,” as warned in the 1988 NPS sign manual.

The manual points out that the roads maintained by the NPS serve a purpose quite unlike the purpose served by normal roads. According to the manual, “Park roads are for leisurely driving only. If you are in a hurry, you might do well to take another route now, and come back when you have more time,” (p. 4).

Thus, signs shouldn’t direct drivers as though they were commuter routes, nor should they give the impression that they are links between state highway systems. The sole purpose of signs in the National Parks is to enhance the experience of visitors. This includes the use of some regulatory signs, where needed, for the sake of safety and direction.

Regulatory signs are proven methods of managing visitors to National Parks

In the National Parks, visitors are often on their own when it comes to traveling trails and navigating roads. Without signs, the land is up to visitor interpretation. This would put fragile areas at risk, if nothing directed people elsewhere. Wildflowers could be picked to extinction. A study conducted By Buerger, et al. (2001) on regulatory signs for hikers at Zeke’s Island within the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve concluded that such signs are an effective way to manage the way visitors behave along within the park.

However, the report also came to some important conclusions regarding the messages on the signs. Most importantly, if there is any effort required of the sign reader to get the message, such as reading small print, the reader will miss the message. The more important the message, the simpler the sign should read.

Also, visitor interpretation of regulatory signs should be taken into account when putting messages on signs. People interpret the meanings of signs based on a number of things, from their education level, to how much experience they have in the great outdoors. Therefore, whether it’s a regulatory sign on the road, or a trail marker, it’s best to be concise and unambiguous, for the enjoyment and safety of everybody who visits a National Park this Great Outdoors Month, or at any time.

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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3 Important Insights To Understand About Regulatory Signs

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Regulatory signs are traffic control devices intended to keep everyone safe. They regulate traffic and driver behavior. All levels of government, including the federal, state, and local levels are involved in enforcement. Below are some important insights to understand about this complex field.

Different types exist

According to the Federal Highway Administration, a regulatory sign is “a sign that gives notice to road users of traffic laws or regulations.” Two types of regulatory signs exist. One is for traffic. The other is for non-traffic uses. Traffic signs inform road users about allowable and disallowable behavior. Signs reinforce and/or indicate applicable traffic laws. Examples include parking, traffic direction, speed limits, do not enter, one way, round-a-bout, road closings, no pedestrian crossing, construction areas, railroad crossings, and yield signs.

Non-traffic regulatory signs can be placed in public areas to regulate behavior. Some signs are used by private businesses to regulate acceptable or unacceptable behavior. Federal, state, and local parks can use signs to notify the public about accessible and inaccessible areas. Another example of this sign type would be the no smoking sign placed in areas where smoking is prohibited. A tow-away sign placed in disabled parking areas is another example. Signs regulate public behavior. They serve notice about prohibited actions involving the general public.

They are enforced

All types of regulatory signs are strictly enforced. Enforcement can be done by state, local, or other law enforcement personnel. The level of violation depends upon the individual situation and governmental entity involved. Violators will face some level of punitive damage. This can range from a warning, vehicle towing, to a monetary citation.

Must comply with federal regulations

Regulatory signs must comply with a federal government document known as MUTCO. This document was written by the United States Department of Transportation or DOT, a branch of the Federal Highway Administration. Standing for Manual on Traffic Control Devices, this comprehensive guidance document provides a detailed explanation of every facet involved in the regulatory signs arena. Its intent is to set minimum national standards for ensuring sign uniformity.

The document defines nationwide standards for installing and maintaining all traffic control devices. Traffic signs can be found on bike ways, public streets, highways, private roads and other thorough ways open to the public. This document can be confusing and overwhelming to some. Consulting with a trained sign professional, like those at Signs Direct, can provide additional insight. Safety is its overall mission.

The Manual on Traffic Control Devices can be accessed online through their website. It is available via a free PDF. The document is also found at the state and local DOT offices. Understanding this document and its legalities is imperative for avoiding any punitive damages or enforcement behavior.

Federal regulations mandate sign colors, reflective material requirements, messages, shape, placement, font size, and size. State regulations can alter federal requirements as deemed necessary. Consulting with a trained sign professional will answer all sign composition questions.

Societies rely on regulatory signs for organization, safety, and protection. Learning more from a trained sign professional will save time, money, and frustration.

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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5 Simple Tips For Buying Parking Signs Online

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Buying parking signs online can be a convenient and enjoyable experience when done correctly. Taking the following simple tips into consideration will assure success.

1. Customer service matters

Reputable sign companies give online visitors a number of customer service options. They will have an About Us page set up. Utilize these contact methods completely to improve your trust, confidence, and knowledge level. Find the one that best suits your lifestyle and needs. Signs Direct, for instance, offers live chat, online forums, toll-free and regular phone numbers, and online forms.

Customer must test a company’s level of customer service. This department is the link between the company and public. A sign company is nothing without a positive and knowledgeable customer service department. It improves confidence, trust, and loyalty levels for all involved. Live chat provides instantaneous communications. Asking important questions and gauging the response is crucial for developing beneficial business relationships.

Find a company that categorizes common customer service questions. This makes the process quicker and easier. Signs Direct, for instance, lets viewers choose between order status,
product questions, custom price quote, return authorization and other concerns. This saves time and frustration. This sign provider also offers online forums. Many potential customers prefer communicating with other real-life customers prior to purchasing any sign. Forums provide the perfect opportunity for this.

Remember that parking signs are a heavily regulated traffic control area. Having your questions answered professionally and knowledgeably helps everyone.

2. Encrypted shopping cart

Online shopping can be scary for many potential customers. Finding a site that takes pride in maintaining a secure and safe shopping experience is crucial for overall success. Make certain the site uses a strong encryption system. Encryption will protect private information such as customer address, payment methods, security codes, and birth dates.

Strong privacy policy
Make certain the site contains a stated privacy policy. Online buying involves collecting very personal information. Privacy policies protect customers. Policies will state what happens to personal information and who owns it. Customers have a right to know what becomes of their information. Only deal with companies that assure data will not be rented or sold to other parties.

3. Provides an information center

Reputable companies will be industry experts. They will take pride in their knowledge-base and eagerly share it with customers. A well-informed customer base can easily convert into a strong referral network. Notice whether a sign company has an information page. Click on this page and any subtopic listed. Learn more about the company, sign industry, and other facts.

4. Provides industry links

Relevant industry links improve overall search engine rankings. Successful online sign companies will have a links page. An informative and relevant links page will improve lead generation, reputation and image.

5. Operates a user-friendly website

Online viewers must receive valuable information in a comfortable and informative manner. This must happen at lightning speeds. Notice whether the company’s website is easy to navigate while visiting. Are you entertained, impressed, and feel comfortable? Does the content appear to be regularly updated and current? Do all links work? Does the site make sharing information easy and convenient? A company’s website provides valuable insight into its level of professionalism.

Buying parking lines online can be confusing. Consulting with a trained sign professional will provide needed assistance.

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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6 Insightful Facts About Parking Signs

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Parking signs are heavily regulated traffic control devices meant to keep everyone safe. They inform drivers of spaces that are available or off-limits for parking. Learning about this topic will help improve your appreciation of this complex topic.

1. Notify of tow away zones

Tow away zones are prohibited traffic areas. No Parking signs can notify drivers that certain spaces are off-limits for any type of vehicle. These signs commonly include a warning that unauthorized vehicles will be towed away at the owner’s expense.

Tow away zone signs are also available with graphics. Universal symbols use graphics to communicate messages without taking language interpretation into consideration. For instance, a tow away zone sign can include only a drawing of a car being towed. No wording is necessary to further understanding.

2. Specific parking areas

Businesses sometimes set aside specific parking spaces for visitors, employees, or other designated individuals. Signs can include a warning that violators will be towed. These signs can be manufactured to have red lettering on a white reflective background.

Customized parking signs can be made with a company’s name, logo, employee name or other important data. Consulting with a trained sign professional, like those at Signs Direct, will provide guidance.

Reserved parking signs are another form of assigned parking notification. They inform others that specific spaces are off-limits. Parking in these spots can result in fines, penalties or other punitive damages.

3. Handicapped parking signs

Every business is legally required to have a certain number of spaces for handicapped parking. Signs are available in graphic form, partial graphic and wording, or all wording. The universal symbol for handicapped is an image of someone in a wheelchair. Most signs will have the universal blue color for a background. Text or graphics will be white. Some signs may have a white reflective background and blue text. White backgrounds usually include the blue graphic centered on the sign.

Signs can state applicable violation fines, van accessible only, permit required, accessible entrance with or without arrows, and/or wheelchair ramp notification. Signs can be manufactured to meet state requirements. Handicapped parking signs can be customized to meet specific customer signage needs.

4. All must comply with zoning laws

Every community has its own zoning laws. Laws specify all components of a sign. Topics covered include placement, material composition, lettering size, font type, and size. Consulting with a trained sign professional will assure any sign purchased is in compliance with applicable zoning laws.

5. No parking with the exception for vehicle groups

Sometimes only certain types of vehicles are allowed to park in designated spaces. Vehicle specification signs have white reflective backgrounds and red or black text. Typical allowable parking signs include bus only, emergency vehicles only, motorcycle, and compact car. These signs do not include the wording “no parking”.

Vehicle specification signs can be purchased or manufactured, with the wording “no parking” followed by allowable vehicles. The choice is up to the individual buyer.

6. Time restrictions

Parking spots may be available only during specified hours. No Parking signs with time exceptions are available for this purpose.

The topic of parking signs is a complex, heavily regulated subject. Consulting with a trained sign professional can be the key to success.

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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3 Big Mistakes with Safety and Parking Signs

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Designing a parking lot that is safe for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists is no easy task. While local and state governments provide rules and regulations that must be adhered to, these regulations do not always guarantee safety. Proper usage of safety and parking signs can help ease congestion in the parking lot area and keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe at the same time. Parking lot designs have improved greatly over the last few decades and provide properly sized parking spaces, highly visible handicap areas and safety lights. While these improvements have helped make parking lots safer, there are still several other big mistakes that are commonly made when designing parking lots. Below is a list of three common parking lot mistakes that can easily be fixed with proper placement of parking and safety signs.

1. Safe Pedestrian and Bicyclist Walkways
Parking lots are typically designed with motorists in mind, but it is important that special consideration is given to pedestrians and bicyclists. This will help to create greater safety for everyone using the parking lot. Pedestrian and bicycle walkways should be clearly marked in front of the store area with bright yellow pedestrian walkway signs. This will help employees and customers know exactly where they can safely cross the parking lot. Many businesses are successfully using portable Stop signs at these walkways for added protection. No parking signs should also be placed in front of the store in order to keep these pedestrian and bicyclist’s walkways clear from obstructions. A clearly marked bicycle parking area should be designated near the front of the store.

2. Use of Roadway Signs
It may seem odd to place signs that are typically seen on the roadway in a parking lot, but these safety signs can help direct motorists. Speed Limit signs are becoming more commonly seen in parking lots and can prevent people from driving too fast throughout the parking lot area. These special Speed Limit signs range from 5 to 20 miles per hour and are dependent on the specific type of parking lot. Many parking lots use arrows painted onto the parking lot surface to regulate traffic within the lot area, but this type of signage is often hard to see and causes confusion. However, One Way signs and Do Not Enter signs are easy to see and can help regulate traffic and minimize congestion within the parking lot. Entrance and Exit signs also help direct traffic as motorists travel into and out of the parking lot.

3. Proper Notice of Towing
There is almost always times when a car will simply need to be removed from the parking lot because it is parked where it should not be or is left in the parking lot for an extended period of time. When this happens, it is often necessary to have the vehicle towed. It is important to understand that businesses owners cannot just remove any car in the parking lot they want because there is a set of regulations that must be followed or the businesses owner takes a chance of paying for the towing fees. Each locality and state has its own set of rules pertaining to towing vehicles, but typically business owners are obligated to provide motorist with proper notice that their vehicle may be towed. A Notice of Towing sign meets these requirements and should be placed at each entrance to the parking lot, as well as, within the parking lot area. Keeping the parking lot clear of these unwanted vehicles helps to provide ample parking for employees and customers and minimize parking lot congestion.

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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7 Safety Secrets for Construction Signs

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Everybody who has ever been on a construction site knows that this can be a very dangerous place to be. There is constantly falling debris, in-use power tools and other aspects that make the entire site a dangerous place for anyone who is unsuspecting and without the proper safety gear. In order to protect the site and the liability of the company involved, it is important to know the 7 main safety secrets of how having the right construction signs located throughout the construction site will keep everybody safe.

7. Parking Signs at Entrances
When there are signs that point to the fact that the area being entered is a construction site, many people will begin to take safety precautions before they exit their vehicle. They will be sure to be watching out for the workers and any dangers that may be present. There are safety signs that state “Construction Site Parking Only” and other similar signs that when posted in parking spots will help visitors to see that they are entering a construction zone.

6. No Trespassing Signs
It really is a no-brainer that an active construction site should not be entered by any unauthorized personnel when the workday is done, but it never hurts to have signs that state the fact. Even if an unauthorized person comes onto the site after hours and gets hurt, the company may still be held liable. Having posted signs that state “No Trespassing” helps in the case to show the company took every precaution to keep unwelcomed guests off the site.

5. Signs That Specify Equipment Needed
Most construction sites have signs that specify that it is a hard hat area, but many forget the other types of safety gear that helps workers to stay safe are necessary. Gear like safety goggles, steel toe boots and various types of vests help to protect workers in different areas of the site. Using signs that specify which safety gear needs to be worn in which areas of the construction site will help to prevent injuries.

4. Be Bilingual
Many people who are living in the country today do not speak much English, therefore, everybody needs to be sure that when important messages are being relayed, they should be relayed in multiple languages. It is important that when construction site signs are placed, they are in multiple languages to ensure that everybody stays safe.

3. Look up Signs
Construction sites often have signs that state when people are entering the construction zone, but most of the injuries caused on these sites come from falling debris. When there are signs placed strategically around where workers are overhead, those walking or working under them are more aware of the work going on above them.

2. Hard Hat Signs
Hard hat signs are some of the most important signs that are found on a construction site. They state that workers and visitors need to wear these hats at all times, just in case there is falling debris.

1. Make Signs Specific to the Job
Every construction site is different, and every company is different. Making the safety signs specific to your job and your company will allow you to create a safer atmosphere for everybody. When you make your own sign, you can state specific company guidelines like the different types of safety gear needed, which workers are allowed access to various areas, and even what types of heavy machinery are actively working in that area.

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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Top 4 Problems With Traffic Signs

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Traffic signs are designed to help improve safety on our streets and highways, making it easier for drivers to understand (and follow) the rules of the road and navigate to their destination. In an ideal world, regulatory and warning signs should help to improve the flow of traffic, reduce accidents and ensure that pedestrians can safely use designated crosswalks. Unfortunately, the reality is that traffic signs are less than perfect; in some cases, roadside signs have been linked to an increase in traffic congestion, pollution and the misuse of neighborhood streets as alternatives to designated commuter routes. Worse yet, traffic signs have been blamed for increased accident rates, particularly among rear-end collisions. Here are the top four problems with traffic signs:

1) Traffic Signs Can Lead To “Distracted Driving”

While a few clear, well-placed signs serve to help improve traffic flow and safety, once drivers have to contend with multiple signs involving speed limits, turn restrictions, time of day regulations and other road rules, distracted driving becomes a serious issue. Drivers are simply unable to navigate safely while simultaneously locating and reading numerous traffic signs – this sign-induced form of distracted driving has been blamed for numerous crashes, particularly at busy urban and suburban intersections.

2) Too Many Signs Leads To Information Overload

In areas where there are simply too many signs, drivers are at risk of simply “tuning out” the signs altogether – the result of information overload. According to British transportation secretary Patrick McLoughlin, excessive roadside signage can actually make driving more dangerous in the UK, a feeling shared by the numerous lobby groups in that country that are working to eliminate confusing, redundant and unnecessary signs.

3) Signs Can Make Drivers Less Defensive

Another major problem with traffic signs is trust; most drivers comply with signs directing them to yield, stop, turn left from the left turn lane and merge when told to, however, not all drivers follow the rules of the road. Traffic signs can cause drivers to let down their guard and drive less defensively than they should be, based on the unrealistic belief that all drivers will comply with the rules expressed through traffic signs. Many serious crashes involving drivers running red lights could be avoided if all drivers checked the intersection before entering it, regardless of the color of the light.

4) Traffic Signs Are Expensive

According to the Wyoming Department of Transportation, installing a single traffic light costs between $200,000 and $500,000, a cost which is ultimately passed along to drivers in the form of increased taxes on gas and vehicle registration fees.

Remember that while reading and understanding roadside signs are an important part of safe driving, traffic signs aren’t perfect – be extra cautious in areas where there is an abundance of signs, and never assume that other drivers will comply with traffic signs. Always drive defensively and avoid the temptation to read too many signs at once

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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The History of the Yield Sign

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The yield sign is one of the most common signs on the road today, used everywhere from quiet suburban boulevards to busy multi-lane highways. Classified by the United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) as an “R1-2 Regulatory Sign,” it is considered to be one of the most important road signs, ranking just below the stop sign in terms of its usefulness in maintaining order on our public streets and thoroughfares.

Tulsa, Oklahoma – Birthplace of the Yield Sign
Like most inventions, the yield sign was developed to solve a widespread, and growing, problem – traffic accidents caused by drivers failing to yield the right-of-way. In 1950, Clinton Riggs, a Highway Trooper in Tulsa, Oklahoma, concluded that a sign was needed at the corner of Columbia Avenue and First Street to remind drivers about the law requiring them to slow down and respect the right-of-way of other drivers. Officer Riggs believed that such a sign would help to both reduce crashes and clarify which driver was at fault; within one year of the installation of his “Yield” sign, vehicle crashes at the test intersection dropped dramatically, leading to the widespread installation of yield signs on roadways throughout the country.

The Four-Sided Yield Sign
According to traffic sign enthusiast Stephen Salcedo, owner of the website “My Crazy Hobby,” one of the rarest types of yield sign was the the four-sided yield sign, shaped like an upside-down trapezoid. Used in low-traffic areas (like residential neighborhoods) in California throughout the 1950’s as an alternative to the stop sign, these signs were yellow with either painted or embossed black writing. The text on these unique signs read “Yield Right of Way” rather than just the standard “Yield”; by the 1960s, these four-sided signs were replaced with the standard inverted triangular yield signs.

The Yellow Years
According to the website TrafficSign.us, yield signs throughout the United States were solid yellow with a narrow black border and the word “Yield” written in solid black letters for almost two decades [http://www.trafficsign.us/yellowyield.html]. The yellow yield sign was introduced in 1954 in the U.S. DOT’s MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices)

The Yield Sign Today
In accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations, yield signs on public roads throughout the country were standardized in 1971 to help minimize confusion for drivers traveling through different states. The modern American yield sign is an inverted, symmetrical triangle; the outer edge of the sign is bordered with a thick, solid red line while the word “yield” is printed onto the inside white triangle in red, capitalized letters.

Variations On The Yield Sign
While the yield sign is most often displayed on its own, in some circumstances, the red and white “yield” triangle is added onto another sign to convey a more detailed message about what, or who, drivers are expected to yield to. One common example of a blended yield sign is found in states where drivers must yield to pedestrians; in these states, rectangular white regulatory signs with both a printed yield sign and an image of a pedestrian are often posted at crosswalks to remind drivers they must yield to pedestrians.

Regardless of where a yield sign is displayed or what color (or shape) it is, throughout the world, the meaning remains the same; drivers must be prepared either to slow down or to stop in order to “give way” to pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles who have the right-of-way.

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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