Friday, April 12, 2013

Abstract Canadian Road Signs

Canada does not have a DMV but rather they have a "Ministry of Transportation;" doesn't it sound like something out of a Harry Potter  book...I think so! Every time that I drive to Canada, I am reminded that I "should" have looked up traffic signs and laws BEFORE I started driving in the country. I have already been detained once because of my last name at customs; I really shouldn't give Canada another reason to be concern with me.  These were a couple of the signs that I encountered this trip that differ from any signs that I have seen here in the states. 

The Ministry of Transportation definition of the sign is in black. My commentary is in red.

“Dangerous goods prohibited” sign
•  must have a red circle circumscribing a black diamond symbol on a white background with a red diagonal line superimposed over the diamond symbol
•  indicates that the carriage of dangerous goods is prohibited on the highway
I thought it meant that we weren't allowed to have square items in the car. Therefore, my friend and I were throwing all square items out the window: saltine crackers, CD cases, postage stamps, tea bags, etc, and then of course we got a ticket for littering. 

THINKMETRIC to remind American travelers that speed and distance information is displayed in metric units. 
This sign prompted a heated discussion about other metric conversions. For instance, how many pints are in a quart? Since gas isn't going to be in gallons, what unit of measurement is it? All these questions remained unanswered since our cellular data was roaming in Canada. One begins to feel very disconnected from the world and knowledge when one cannot simply "google" a question.

SUNBURST ADVISORY SPEED sign warns of a potentially hazardous roadway section ahead. They are only warranted at locations where there is a documented accident history or motorist disregard of usual warning signs.

We thought it was one of those optical illusions on a road sign. Lets just say the traffic behind us was getting impatient as we stared at the sign so we could see the illusion. Sadly, we left disappointed.

LOW CLEARANCE signs indicate the maximum amount of overhead 
clearance available under low bridges, underpasses, and other 
I love how Canadians EXPECT us Americans to be able to make the conversion from the "US system" to metric system in order to know if we can go under the bridge/road. Silly Canadains.

CHECKERBOARD sign warns motorists of the termination of a road. 

I cannot believe I came to Canada and I forgot to pack my checker and chess pieces.

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