Guest Post by: Stephen Roshy
Road safety greatly depends on how drivers drive vehicles. Their alertness is very significant to avoid collisions. However, their attentiveness easily wobbles now because of increased number of distractions on the road and inside their vehicle. Where eating, drinking, smoking and using cell phone while driving have been major causes of distractions and collisions, roadside advertising also affects driver’s vigilance significantly.
Roadside advertisements, in fact, could be bigger and inevitable distractions. It is because one can switch off his mobile, and avoid food and drinks, but can hardly ignore colorful and attractive billboards, particularly when they are giving a strong message or exhibit a teaser.
Since they are now in abundance on important roads and highways, traffic safety has become a challenge.
Influence & Power of Roadside Advertising
The power of roadside advertising can be determined from its purpose which is to grab one’s attention. In other words, its aim is to distract drivers, motorists and travelers while driving which increases the chances of collisions.
However, roadside advertising loses its power when it goes unnoticed. If billboards are unable to distract drivers, they have no influence on them at all. Thus, drivers can still avoid crashes by controlling visual distractions caused by billboards and roadside posters.
Nevertheless, while drivers may ignore some small and ordinary roadside ads, billboards are now getting bigger, modernized and technologically advanced to captivate and distract people.
Distracting Factors of Roadside Ads
A new, creative and attractive object is always distracting. Same is the case with outdoor advertisements. However, levels of distraction vary with particular features of roadside billboards. For instance, it has been found that moving objects are more captivating than fixed or immovable things. Likewise, static billboards are relatively less distracting than the moving billboards. The rapid appearance and disappearance of messages and objects on a billboard is difficult to ignore.
Moreover, studies reveal that moving parts of a billboard are capable of grabbing one’s attention for a longer time.
Placement of Billboards is also critical when it comes to getting a driver’s attention. Visual distractions are higher when a promotional billboard is located in the central visual field. The ones that are placed peripherally or are at greater height fail to draw attention.
Another powerful distracting factor of roadside ads is the type and tone of message. It has been found that negative messages are more distracting and captivating than the positive messages.
Can one prevent collisions on road when it is occupied by distracting billboards?
Digital Billboards, Big Distraction?
Keeping eyes peeled while driving and driving carefully are important responsibilities of drivers, but would digital billboards allow them to do that?
Human eye quickly responds to moving and flashing objects. Considering this, imagine the level of distraction caused by a digital billboard that displays an ad repetitively and constantly?
Several studies indicate that there is a strong relationship between digital billboards and distraction. However, there are contradictions regarding digital billboards’ relation with collisions. Nevertheless, one needs to be careful while driving in their presence.
Whether roadside billboards, particularly digital billboards, lead to collisions or not, but the risk is always there since they have a strong appeal and have found to be distracting. The more active, bright and vibrant a billboard is, more are the chances of distracted driving.
In short, roadside ads could cause distraction, collisions, and damages to cars and injuries to pedestrians and passengers.
Ways to Avoid Distraction Caused by Roadside Ads
Watchfulness is important while driving. One should understand that life and health are very important and one’s vigilance could save many lives.
Collective Efforts like uniting for a cause and working toward road safety together could be beneficial for all drivers and passengers. As community or group, one can speak for traffic safety and can ask to reduce the number of billboards if all of them can’t be removed.
Did you know that 9 people are killed and 1,153 people are inured on a daily basis in the USA because of distracted driving incidents?
The distractions, therefore, are increasing and so are risks of collisions. However, since it is about everyone’s safety and wellbeing, the effects of roadside advertising can be minimized with mutual understanding and efforts.