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04/19/2023 08:00 AM

The Importance of Bright Colors

As the Safe Streets Task Force works on its mission, we all need to keep the importance of bright colors in mind. At this time of the year, our eyes are drawn to the bright yellows of the daffodils, and our safety, whether we are motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, or bystanders, depends on visibility and bright colors.

Almost instinctively, we know red means stop, yellow means caution or danger, and green means go. We also respond to colored cues that signal change. Red brake lights, yellow turn signals or flashers, and people wearing bright or even neon colors grab our attention and force a reaction. Standing out like a sore thumb is sometimes life-saving.

Paint can serve the same function. Fresh yellow reflective paint on two-lane roads can guide us, especially in bad weather or at night. Newer cars have daytime running lights for visibility and respond, in many cases, to tell drivers they have veered out of their lane, and an adjustment is needed. Other colors on the road and signs alert us to crossings or other places where speed needs to be dialed down.

Road design and signage matter, but bright colors, at a relatively low cost, keep us all safer.

Irving S. Schloss