Hilarious Traffic Signs Spotted on Iowa Highway


| LAST UPDATE 12/13/2022

By Lily Tipton
Festive Billboard Traffic Iowa
@doctorgrangran via Instagram

Everywhere we look, it seems everyone and everything is getting in the festive spirit. However, while we expect it from our local grocery and department stores, the traffic billboards usually stay out of it - favoring the more serious messages they're meant to deliver. This year, the Iowa Department of Transportation is going off-script, doing what it can to contribute to the festive buzz. Yes, they are still warning people to be safe on the roads, but now they're borrowing lines from our favorite Christmas movies to do so!

"Why is the road wet, Todd?" "Slow down, Margo!" read one digital road sign in Iowa earlier this month. Of course, this is an iconic exchange from the movie Christmas Vacation, which many sit down to watch at this time of year. Giving the nod to the Christmas movie Elf, another sign read, "I like to buckle. Buckling is my favorite!" It seems these messages were inspired by the creative billboards released by the New Jersey Transportation department over the past few months. These included "Get your head out of your apps," "Mash potatoes - not your head," and "Slow down. This ain't Thunder Road."

New Jersey Funny Billboard Signs
@fraleycm via Instagram
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Although drivers love the roadside entertainment, it's feared that Iowa will follow in the ways of the New Jersey transportation department, which was reportedly instructed by The Federal Highway Administration to stop the entertaining billboards. This derives from the fear the signs are too distracting, ultimately causing more car accidents. For now, however, it seems the billboards are here to stay as an Iowa Department of Transportation spokeswoman confirmed the federal agency has yet to contact them about the signage program. 

Iowa's comical road signs are the latest step in the department's overarching efforts to create attention-grabbing traffic safety messages. Titled "Roadside Chat," the DOT believes these entertaining signs will "start a conversation about traffic safety that leads to drivers changing their behavior behind the wheel." Their website explains that "since the inception of the program in August 2013, those thought-provoking sayings that appear on the overhead message boards on interstates and major highways … were developed to help travelers understand the number of fatalities that occur on Iowa's roads and increase the visibility of traffic safety." If we all promise to drive safely, can we keep the signs?!

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