Snow and Legibilty

Here in Richmond Hill, just north of Toronto, it’s been a snowy winter. We’ve got another storm watch for today and tomorrow with another 15 to 20 cm on order. I like snow. I even like driving in it.

There are of course challenges to that. The problems of just getting a car to move in the intended direction and stop when it should on icy roads and seeing where you are going through flurries of snow are obvious enough, but then after the snow has fallen and the world is all blindingly white, there’s another challenge.

The snow often sticks to to road sign faces, obscuring text and symbols. Curiously, it’s often still pretty easy figure out what the signs say. Often shape and context or location are clues enough. After all If you have a driver’s license you’ve had to pass a test to demonstrate you know the meaning of standard traffic signs. But, that’s no help with street name signs, highway guide signs or those incidental text based ones that may not be so easy top guess the meaning of purely from shape an context.

Sign with snow

Five of the nine letters in the sign above are to varying degrees, virtually indistinguishable on their own, yet, in spite of being set all caps, from word shape, its not all that difficult to read the message.

(Slide Show)

sign with Snow

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One response to “Snow and Legibilty

  1. If you want to see neglected traffic signs in bulk check my web site at http://www.rag.org.au/shame/signs.htm in Brisbane Australia over a 4 week period.
    The authorities need to step up and take responsibility.

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