Those neon freeway signs serve a purpose; they warn us about traffic situations, broadcast Amber or Silver Alerts and more, but in less urgent times, they make us laugh about the mundane.
Take for example the Arizona Department of Transportation’s very first attempt at humor:
“Drinking and driving go together like peas & guac.”
It launched during Thanksgiving weekend in 2015 and attracted the attention of news stations across the U.S.
“By putting up quirky, unconventional safety messages that remind people to wear their seatbelt, slow down, you know, don’t get road rage, don’t drive distracted. . .things like that, maybe we can break through some of that white noise that’s out there with those messages,” said Doug Pacey, ADOT’s spokesperson.
The peas and guac sign was just the beginning. In August of 2016, Adele canceled her concert due to illness. ADOT seized the opportunity with this message:
“Hello from the other side, buckle up and stay alive, Adele concert tonight canceled.”
“If you’re going to a Taylor Swift concert or the Justin Timberlake concert,” said Pacey, “Those are things that people in the community are talking about and if we can kinda tie a safety message into that, it keeps it at the front of the conversation and hopefully that makes a difference.”