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Go Backwards Signposts

Don't be fooled again
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There are some of us who are not natural travellers. We can barely remember the way to the toilet, never mind calculate the necessary multitude of distances and directions, on the fly, while trying to navigate on the road.

One booboo that comes up time and time again is failing to realise you've gone past something - a building, a district, or even a city. I see an easy solution to this - Go Backwards Signposts - signposts that show you what's *behind* you. It's the one direction every signposter forgets, but one of the four direction you should never ignore.

There's no practical problem here. I'm not suggesting *everywhere* behind you is put on this crazy backwards signpost, obviously, just as not everywhere in front of you is put on crazy forwards signposts. And they'd just slot right onto the back of the existing, traditional signposts, so you've got the same information as the guys coming towards you.

Here's an example. You're going along, panicked and late, trying to get to Bromley. Bromley's behind you but you don't know that and your friends are laughing at you. You get to a roundabout and can't see Bromley on it anywhere. Disaster... you drive around for two hours, run out of petrol, and try shoving leaves into your engine for energy.

... when it could be as simple as this - you get to the roundabout. Bromley is on it. You need to turn around. Bam. You get to the party, you get lucky, and your friends think you're the best.

Now, what symbol to use? Well, actually, there's a limited edition of Go Backwards Signposts out at the moment - used for service entries, telling lorries they need to turn around to get entry to a site. They look like little loops that clearly show you that you have to go backwards.

Well, this should surely be a new universal signpost. Surely. Because before we have Crazy Taxi-style arrows floating above the dashboard of every car, this will be a great help.

Zeph, Sep 08 2003

3D Directional Road Signs http://www.halfbake...onal_20Road_20Signs
Visible from any direction. [phoenix, Oct 17 2004]

[link]






       So that's what all those stop signs are for.
thumbwax, Sep 08 2003
  

       But what if you're driving in the desert, where there are no leaves?
beauxeault, Sep 08 2003
  

       Seriously, if you've just passed Bromley, and you get on a roundabout, wouldn't the sign say "Bromley" when you've gone 360 degrees on the roundabout?   

       I like the idea, though.
beauxeault, Sep 08 2003
  

       You go round every roundabout, you get very dizzy.   

       Seriously though, yes you *could* (and, when lost, often do) inspect all exits of a roundabout, and you *could* get a map out and have a look, or pay more attention when driving, but Go Backwards Signposts would still be helpful - nonessential certainly, but helpful.   

       And about getting lost in a desert, I'm working on a new idea, Sand Engines.
Zeph, Sep 08 2003
  

       We've got those here in the American West. They say "Whoa pardner, y'all passed us! So-and-so Casino 2 miles back."
grip, Sep 08 2003
  

       //Now, what symbol to use? //   

       If an "up" arrow means forward, wouldn't a "down" arrow be logical for backward?
jivetalkinrobot, Sep 09 2003
  

       Thank God we don’t have many of those roundabouts in the US. They are so confusing. Of course, the US is very big, so it doesn’t make sense to be going around in circles. In Britain, on the other hand, if you were to go straight for any distance, you’d plunge into the Atlantic.

But that aside, I really like this idea. So often I find myself peering over my shoulder at the signs behind me, those signs facing in the other direction that are designed for the people going the other way, trying to see if I’ve missed my exit.

And that is extremely dangerous, I’ve been told. (I didn’t think so, but a patrolman was kind enough to stop me just to tell me that.)
pluterday, Sep 09 2003
  

       Perhaps we could just make [pluter]'s behavior more safe. On freeways just install signs on the back of each sign with the name of the city you just passed written backwards. This way you can use your mirrors, enabling you to check that blind spot and orient yourself all at once.
Worldgineer, Sep 09 2003
  

       I seem to remember something like this on I-95 just south of Washington DC, at an exit ramp, said "to I-95 north: Washington DC"
Freefall, Sep 09 2003
  

       plute, roughly speaking, the atlantic is generally only on the southwestern side as the Irish sea is to the west and the north sea to the east and the english channel to the south - but of course you are right, nowhere here is *that* far from the coast.
po, Sep 09 2003
  

       Yes of course, I should have said “water” instead of “Atlantic”, but I was speaking mainly to the yank-bakers. Anyway, in Britain, it’s best to keep looping around in circles, at least until you can find a place to park. I figure you could park in Scotland and walk into downtown London.

But perhaps my geography is off.
pluterday, Sep 09 2003
  

       I think your best bet is to park in Belgium, then walk into London, as long as you don’t mind getting your toes wet.
AO, Sep 09 2003
  

       plute, you can walk farther than I can...
po, Sep 09 2003
  

       re the observation that in Britain you're never far from the coast. The state of Florida has recently begun a tourism campaign that emphasizes the same fact about Florida (you're never far from salt water, they say). So maybe the British Tourism Ministry (or whatever it's called) could run ads that say, "England...just like Florida."
beauxeault, Sep 10 2003
  

       It's past midnight, and the only recenty- annotated topic is 'magnetic door opener and closer'. The Random button was made for moments like this.

Regarding the placement and style of the 'backwards' signs, this is easy: just have them on the backs of the roadsigns on the other side of the road. Their location (on the wrong side of the road) then makes it obvious that they are referring to the opposite direction, and they take up only the currently un-used rear surface of existing roadsigns. If needs be, the whole sign could have a different background colour from 'forward facing' signs, in case anyone is still in doubt. Bloody brilliant idea, Zeph.
Basepair, Jul 16 2005
  

       You know...   

       Umm, actually, this may be a different idea I just had...
ye_river_xiv, Mar 14 2009
  

       Shouldn't the backwards signs also be printed in mirror writing?
goldbb, Mar 15 2009
  

       The words for "backwards left" and "backwards right" should be Bleft and Bright. It would be common to pass a sign saying "Route 101, next bleft".
phundug, Mar 15 2009
  

       I've just been in Spain, where the road signs seem to have a strict order of size, depending on how big the road is. It seems sensible, until you drive off a motorway exit, and the 2 biggest signs are to go back onto the road in the direction you were travelling, or back to where you have just been. It can be quite tricky to find where you want to go. I've just realised that this point isn't exactly strictly relevant, but nearly, and I'm too tired to try and make it more relevant
MadnessInMyMethod, Mar 25 2009
  

       I would think the symbol would be the U-turn sign - or an inverted U-turn sign.
cindik, Mar 26 2009
  
      
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