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Government & Politics

ODOT Uses Pop Culture References to Keep Drivers Focused

Photo of a road sign with a christmas story reference on it, reading "Life is fra-gee-lay, drive safe."
Ohio Department of Transportation
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State of Ohio
References like this Christmas Story Callback help drivers stay focused on the road, according to ODOT.

If you’ve driven Ohio’s roads lately, you’ve probably noticed the big signs with cheeky sayings directed at drivers.

One sign reminds drivers life is “fra-gee-lay (fragile),” a reference to the movie, “A Christmas Story.” 

photo of a road sign telling drivers to stay in the right lane because Santa needs the left
Credit Ohio Department of Transportation / State of Ohio
/
State of Ohio
Even Santa needs to abide by traffic laws.

Another tells drivers to stay in the right lane unless passing because Santa needs the left lane.

Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jack Marchbanks said there’s a simple reason for these signs. 

“It might seem flip but we have found that tying these messages to pop culture references makes people remember them.” Marchbanks said.

photo of a road sign with a reference to National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation reading, "Can I refill your eggnog, Eddie? Clark said."
Credit Ohio Department of Transportation / State of Ohio
/
State of Ohio
ODOT wants to ensure if Clark Griswold is driving Eddie to the middle of nowhere, he's driving sober.

A survey conducted by the Federal Highway Administration found that more than half of all respondents said messages like these caused them to change their driving. 

Traffic accidents are up in Ohio this year, so Marchbanks said the message boards will focus on urging drivers to drive sober without distractions.