Depending on the region and industry, corporate warfare can be a constant struggle. Businesses want to get a leg up on their competitors at every turn. These battles often center on who has the most eye-catching advertising. Unfortunately, roadside advertising can have a dramatic, unintended consequence – devastating vehicle collisions.
Distracted driving is one of the leading contributing factors to motor vehicle accidents – and billboards along the highway and city roads may be a distraction that most drivers fail to be mindful of.
Digital billboards might be too effective
While it has not been recently replicated, a Swedish study looked directly at the harm a digital billboard can cause. Essentially, the study measured eye contact as drivers moved past the advertisement. The researchers found that digital billboards attract and hold a motorist’s gaze significantly longer than traditional advertising.
But that is their job.
Digital billboards are eye-catching. Companies design them to attract attention and convey what they are advertising. The goal is to get people to respond in a particular way. These billboards change images and words every few seconds, potentially distracting drivers.
Driver distractions can be deadly
The problem with driver distractions is that it effectively removes a motorist’s ability to carefully navigate the roadway. Visual distractions, such as those represented by digital billboards, sign walkers, costumed pedestrians or huge balloons tied to a business for a grand opening, pull the eyes from the road. This can lead to collisions with catastrophic results.
Drivers must focus on the road. Diverting their attention to the billboard, even for a few seconds, is dangerous. Drivers must devote extra attention to reading an ad and understanding its content, which means one may not concentrate on the road as required. In many ways, flashy advertising works directly contrary to the goal of keeping our roads safe.