The personal website of Chris Coyier

Obeying Signs

I have a friend who will not cross the street if the crosswalk sign shows red/don’t cross. Even if it’s 4am and you can see a mile in either direction and no cars in sight. Me, I’ll go ahead and cross. For a sign like this, my thinking is that it’s trying to help you out when the intersection is busy and set some standards. But ultimately, you need to trust your own judgment of when it’s safe to cross a street, not a sign. If that sign shows white/walk, but there is a car speeding to the intersection, you had better trust that judgment.

But then there are other signs. There is a sign by the gate to the park in front of my house. It says: “No Dogs Allowed”. Yet probably 20 times day, someone opens that gate with the same hand they are holding their dog leash with. That kind of sign isn’t a judgment call to me, it means don’t bring your frigging dog to this park. If I had a dog, there is no way on Earth my body would let me go through that gate with the dog. Can’t do it. Sign says no.

I just find it strange that I have so fundamentally different reactions to different signs.