UDOT’s Signs of the Times

Utahns are used to people laughing at us. But, in the case of the Utah Department of Transportation’s (UDOT) viral signs, we’re all relieved that the internet is laughing with us.

Message Monday, part of the Zero Fatalities campaign to reduce automobile-related deaths, has found itself on the front page of Reddit, trending on Twitter and garnering a fair share of traditional media attention for its clever digital messaging. It’s so popular, in fact, that Lt. Governor Spencer Cox got in on the action with a crowd-sourced (on Twitter) Utah Jazz-themed take on the safety signage during the team’s playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The winner: “Drive safe: 0% chance of thunder,” which was submitted to Cox on Twitter by Fox 13 meteorologist Allison Croghan.

Often the messaging is seasonal, “You’re not a firework, don’t drive lit” on Independence Day and “Deck the Halls, not the guy who cut you off” around the winter holidays. But, most of the time the signs riff on pop culture—“Groot, put your seatbelt on,” for example, was on the interstate signs the week after the line was used in the superhero franchise Guardians of the Galaxy and “Yoda says buckle up, you must,” after a Star Wars premiere weekend.

Most of the 17-character-per-line missives, however, focus on distracted driving. “Turn signals, the original instant message,” “You had me at I don’t text and drive,” and “Text and Drive? Oh cell no,” all led to the inevitable, “Get your head out of your apps.”

This article appeared in the Sept.-Oct. 2018 issue of Salt Lake magazine. Read more here.

Christie Marcy
Christie Marcy is the managing editor at Salt Lake magazine. Though she writes about everything, she has a particular interest in arts and culture in Utah. In the summer months you will find her at any given outdoor concert on any given night. In the winter, you will find her wishing for summer. Follow her on social media at @whynotboth.

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