What's Wrong With This Picture?: When Did We Get This Stupid?

Ronnie Schreiber
by Ronnie Schreiber

I’m not sure why a generation or two ago municipalities replaced the old Walk / Don’t Walk crossing signals with lights using pictograms instead. Perhaps someone thought they were more easily understood, or perhaps it was part of general trend towards using international symbols, like the little fuel pump by your gas gauge instead of the word “Fuel”. Either way, Walk / Don’t Walk was considered obsolete. Now, it seems as though the pictograms just weren’t that easily understood, as we apparently have to explain to people that a red hand means “don’t walk” and that a white pictogram of a person walking means “walk”.

The notion of a countdown is also apparently considered très difficile for the average pedestrian, or at least it’s considered so by the people who buy crossing signals for cities and counties, since we also have to be told that the numerals represent how many seconds we have left to cross the street. The company that makes these signs and the municipalities that buy them are trying to clarify things, I’m sure, but am I the only person who finds the instructions at the bottom of the sign, “To Cross Push Button” with an arrow pointing to the side, a little confusing? It took me a second to realize that the arrow indicates which street crossing that signal controls, not where the button is. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If you think 3D is a plot to get you to buy yet another new TV set, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

Ronnie Schreiber
Ronnie Schreiber

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, the original 3D car site.

More by Ronnie Schreiber

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  • AJ AJ on Nov 11, 2013

    The people that need these additional explanations probably can't read them anyway. (lol)

  • 08Suzuki 08Suzuki on Nov 12, 2013

    There is a very specific reason why they went from "Walk/Don't Walk" to pictograms - the large number of non-English speakers in this country (and this goes far beyond the immigration debate - think of all the international tourists in NYC, for example).

  • ToolGuy Personally I have no idea what anyone in this video is talking about, perhaps someone can explain it to me.
  • ToolGuy Friendly reminder of two indisputable facts: A) Winners buy new vehicles (only losers buy used), and B) New vehicle buyers are geniuses (their vehicle choices prove it):
  • Groza George Stellantis live off the back of cheap V8 cars with old technology and suffers from lack of new product development. Now that regulations killed this market, they have to ditch the outdated overhead.They are not ready to face the tsunami of cheap Chinese EVs or ready to even go hybrid and will be left in the dust. I expect most of their US offerings to be made in Mexico in the future for good tariff protection and lower costs of labor instead of overpriced and inflexible union labor.
  • MaintenanceCosts This is delaying an oil change for my Highlander by a couple of weeks, as it prevented me from getting an appointment before a business trip out of town. Oh well, much worse things have happened.I also just got a dealership oil change for my BMW (thanks, loss-leader prepaid plans!) and this didn't seem to affect them at all.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Gonna need more EV fuel.
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