“When I wore a younger man’s clothes,” as Billy Joel noted in his song, well back then I used to go and ride my motorcycle nearly every day, it was a race bike, and we used to rip through the canyons above Malibu California. We had a tremendous amount of fun, and one day I heard from a buddy that a good friend of ours had gone off the road and was impaled by a road sign. He told me where the corner was, and I knew exactly which road sign he was talking about, because if you were to miss that corner somehow, you’d be headed right for it. Our friend did live but he was pretty messed up, and in a wheelchair for quite a while. Needless to say that ended his motorcycle riding and racing days.
Today, we have significant new technology for the future which may prevent these types of things. We have extremely strong materials which are flexible, and we also have very reflective decals for the signs. However, maybe in the future we don’t need road signs at all. Maybe the signs will only pop up when someone drives by, or their vehicle is traveling too fast as a warning. And why do we need a sign to pop up, why can’t it be a holographic image, almost like an augmented reality warning sign using only light? We do have this technology, and it is available, but it is quite costly. It also takes power to run.
Still, many of the road signs now light up at night because they have solar energy they collect during the day. In the future they might run off the vibrational energy from the vehicles driving by. In that case it would be impossible to hit a road sign, or for a motorcyclist to impale themselves. The Europeans have just designed roads which glow-in-the-dark, and they save the energy from the sun during the day, plus reflect the light from the headlights at night. The whole road shines.
Perhaps you’ve noted that some roads are very dark at night, while others have some sort glass beads in the actual asphalt, and it reflects quite well along with the striping. If we use that, and also had a holographic road signs for major freeways, off ramps, and high-speed corners, then they would certainly get the attention of the driver. This might be a good interim step before we go to purely autonomous driving vehicles, where the robotic car drives the passengers wherever they want to go. The future will be bright, bright with light. Please consider all this and think on it.