Driving along one of our local motorways a few days ago, I was a bit perturbed to see numerous overhead gantry signs with the message ‘ The UK leaves the EU on 31 December, new dogs required’ . I knew things were changing but not that every pet owner had to replace their four legged friends. With the average price for any pedigree puppy being around GBP£2000, it could be an expensive business.
The displays certainly aren’t clear……as my mother in law, on a separate journey actually read it as New Docks required and was left wondering why Dover, Southampton, Hull etc. were all being consigned to the history books.
It took an eagle eyed family member in the car who could focus on the signs and not the road ahead …..to note that the message is actually all about ‘docs’ as in documents ..not dogs or seaports.
Another sign I spotted a junction or so later helpfully asked the question ‘Travelling to France? Covid Test required’. Very helpful info you may say, but this road junction in Yorkshire, Northern England and is some 4 hours drive (about 250 miles) from the nearest seaport from where you can take the ferry to France! In reality the majority of cars who use this particular exit are either travelling to the local Ikea or Lidl and really not much further!
As a nation, in the UK we are actually quite used to unusual signage..in the early 1990’s we had the Traffic Cones hotline promoted all along our motorways complete with a freephone 0800 number. The only problem being nobody had a clue why it was there?
Some people thought it was to report stray or lost traffic cones, others a counselling service for those to report and get advice on an unhealthy romantic attraction to these plastic hat impersonators, some assumed it was to complain about there being too many of them and so on. In fact it was actually an information line you could ring to find out where there were roadworks on the country’s motorway network, presumably to avoid them…or if you had a strange interest in them, so that you could plan a Happy weekend of contra-flow driving complete with other features including those family favourites…’raised man hole covers’ and ‘temporary road service’.
Anyway, such signs are now just history.
But despair not, visit Scotland’s motorways and you will still find signage to delight. In Scotland, people just generally say it as it is and this is the tone of the signage there too. My favourites are the signs displayed on many stretches of motorway with helpful motoring advice…’Watch your speed’. Yes for sure many a driver will be prodded by this reminder and ease off the accelerator pedal a bit; another is , ‘Check your fuel’..likewise a quick glance at the fuel gauge makes sense….but the ‘icing on the cake’ goes to ‘Check your tyres’….really??? At 70 miles per hour in the fast lane!!!