We are a world of signs. They tell us what direction to go whether we’re walking or driving. They provide instructions on operational procedures. And, they even tell us to have a nice day.
The most important thing a sign does is keep you safe. Be it traffic direction signs
like One-Way or Detour, these signs are placed where they are to make sure you don’t get into an accident or fall into a ditch. The most important of these colorful notifications is the STOP sign.
Over 100 years old
The stop sign is over a century old. The first of these was introduced to Detroit, Michigan drivers in 1915. Back then, the signs came in different colors. It wasn’t until the 1920s that the color yellow was established as a standard that could be seen both day and night.
In the 1950s, a durable and non-fade red coating was created by sign makers. This is when the STOP sign became red with white lettering. By doing this, they made the color consistent with red lights while yellow was designated to a warning status. It’s a color scheme now used across many industries other than STOP signs.
In 1968, under the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals, the STOP sign we know today — red octagon with the word in white lettering — became one of two international standards. Across the globe, either this sign or a red globe with the word in an inverted triangle can be established by municipalities.
A regulatory sign
The STOP is known as a regulatory sign. Though they are purchased through commercial companies like AABCO, once installed they are designated a legal means of halting traffic. Unlike an informational sign, that notifies commuters about an interstate highway or an upcoming curve, drivers who don’t adhere to regulatory signs are subject to fines by local authorities.
In conclusion, whenever you come up to a STOP sign, take a moment to think about its history and how it keeps us safe. But not too long, because there are people behind you.