Help me write a sign
May 28, 2020 12:16 PM   Subscribe

We want to put a sign up that will deter trucks/vans from getting stuck on our street, and I need some help wording it - what works that is short enough but like... "yes, you will get stuck. Trucks get stuck all the time" enough that it will be read & heeded?

We live up a steep, windy street. At one point there is a super sharp, steep turn. Trucks & delivery vans get up it fine. But then... they go back down the hill, and something about the turn and the pitch, they end up with their front wheel against the opposite curb, and one rear wheel off the ground, and since they're rear wheel drive they can't back up and they are just stuck. At that point, they are completely blocking the road and we can't leave.

This happens about once a month. We want to at least try to help it to stop with a sign that says like... "Trucks get stuck here... back up into a 3 point turn before you think you need to", but I have no idea how to phrase that in a way that will be useful & heeded. (We probably want to also put it in Spanish on the sign since many of these drivers are Spanish speaking?)

Anyone have some advice for good wording? Especially if you know about how similar signs might be worded in an "official" capacity so they might be more likely to pay attention? Or not, I'm just not great at wordsmithing this stuff.
posted by brainmouse to Grab Bag (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
HERE (all in big letters to get attention)
Please turn before end of street or you will get stuck (smaller letters for them to read once you've got their attention).

And maybe a second sign at the furthest point you reckon they can turn safely saying

If you continue you will get stuck on kerb when turning
posted by penguin pie at 12:24 PM on May 28, 2020 [4 favorites]

And maybe one at the entrance to the street saying "THIS STREET EATS TRUCKS -- If you don't want to get stuck coming down, please follow signs."
posted by puffyn at 12:28 PM on May 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

This happens about once a month.

Call your local-est elected leader and explain the issue. Get your neighbors to call, too. Let them put up an official sign! It's a public safety issue and a liability issue, make your government work for you.
posted by phunniemee at 12:30 PM on May 28, 2020 [40 favorites]

Yeah, I don't think you need to be the one writing the sign. This is a public issue, and the city should handle it.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:33 PM on May 28, 2020 [6 favorites]

Should note: we're on a private road (like almost all small side roads in my town). The town does not care and won't help.
posted by brainmouse at 12:43 PM on May 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

I would say

large font:
OVER 18'

small font:
Delivery trucks get stuck
on this private drive.
Please park & walk.

If they are for deliveries, can you provide another way for them to deliver at the turn? A locked dropbox at the turn? How do you expect them to do their job without coming up?
posted by amaire at 12:52 PM on May 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

Ok last one I promise - I do want them to come up. Most of the time when they come up it's fine. They just need to be slightly more careful going down, and I want a sign to help encourage them to exercise that caution.
posted by brainmouse at 12:58 PM on May 28, 2020

Ah, got it!

Ok. Right before the turn, facing "upward" (so it's seen by trucks going down) how about a sign that says:

posted by amaire at 1:09 PM on May 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

How about going up NO TRUCKS, and on the reverse EMERGENCY ACCESS DO NOT BLOCK? Possible even "dangerous bend" too.

Also, find your street on OpenStreetMap and mark the section "no trucks". A lot of the commercial routing companies use OSM data (it's cheap) and tagging it will eventual get through to their tracking system. Memail me if you need help.
posted by scruss at 1:18 PM on May 28, 2020 [6 favorites]

I second amaire's point about a large font because what looks gigantic on your table will be hardly visible from a moving vehicle. Maybe measure the type on a traffic sign to get an idea.
posted by Botanizer at 1:24 PM on May 28, 2020 [4 favorites]

Why not paint a warning on the actual street?
Maybe a sign on entry "Caution, read warning signs on exit"
Hopefully you can be more sucessfull than the 11'8" bridge
posted by Sophont at 1:36 PM on May 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

given that folks won't heed warnings, would leaving a cinder block to jam under the elevated rear tire, or moving the curb back a few inches help? Alternately, painting tire tracks on the pavement indicating when to start turning?
posted by enfa at 1:44 PM on May 28, 2020


At the entrance to the street.


Place about 50 feet before the last possible point at which they can actually reasonably execute a 3 point turn, because some people will ignore this, and at least there's a shot they'll stop before they get really stuck.

Black letters on yellow diamond-shaped metal sign. Mounted on a post at normal stop/yield/etc/ sign height (whatever that is).

Make sure these signs are not blocked by trees.

Maybe measure the type on a traffic sign to get an idea.

Yes, do this. Sign size and font size.

Also, it might not be the worst idea to put some speed bumps in the road to get drivers to slow down even further, give them a greater chance to see the signs.

(Source: I drive 16-24' trucks for my job a lot, often in places where trucks really aren't meant to go.)
posted by soundguy99 at 1:54 PM on May 28, 2020 [9 favorites]

I'm with amaire above: The more specific, the better. Maybe something like HAIRPIN TURNS AHEAD — NO VEHICLES OVER n FT LONG. It would also attract more attention if it included a hairpin turn symbol.
posted by davcoo at 2:01 PM on May 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

We have a similar turn in my neighbourhood and the council have erected a sign with words saying to the effect “NO TRUCKS OVER #SIZE PERMITTED” because they’d get inevitably blocked and cause a traffic jam. You need to give the drivers a length to go by otherwise you’ll get some who think it doesn’t apply to them/they’ll give it a go/their driving skills are superior and they’ll be fine etc.
posted by Jubey at 3:05 PM on May 28, 2020

Find the truck towing company that comes to pull them out. Post a sign with that info. "FooBar Truck Towing 123-456-7890, You'll need us if you don't turn around now"
posted by zengargoyle at 3:16 PM on May 28, 2020 [10 favorites]

If they are making deliveries, they are stopping at your (and other people's?) homes. They have to stop for a moment. Get their attention then. Take a photo next time a truck is stuck that shows what's happening. Laminate it with a short explanation and hang from your mailbox etc. (In addition to the sign ideas above.)
posted by Gotanda at 3:37 PM on May 28, 2020 [4 favorites]

Maybe include with the warning a simple graphic on the sign showing a truck trapped in the way the curve traps them. Like this kind of thing (but, um, hopefully with better results.)
posted by Poogle at 4:28 PM on May 28, 2020 [3 favorites]

I would go with

(insert large image of stuck truck as linked above)
And the name and number of a tow company.

Make sure the letters are large and dark against a light background and it is not obscured by brush. Maybe add an LED flashing light. Signs are actually very easy to miss. Think about any times you drove up a and down the road looking for one building and not seeing the tiny sign associated with it but being able to find it because "it's next to the Red Lobster" and there you go, there's the post office, or wherever you really want, next to it.
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 5:25 PM on May 28, 2020

Is there something useful in these truck-specific signs or these curve signs?

I think I'd have multiple sets of signs, one on the way up suggesting a truck turnaround point, a second farther up (near the point of no return) reading "TRUCKS OVER [LENGTH] MUST REVERSE OUT" and then on the way down (for the ones that didn't pay attention to the signs on the way up) I'd do the sharp turn with tip over warning sign at the appropriate spot.
posted by fedward at 7:49 PM on May 28, 2020

Maybe contact the local offices of the delivery companies in your area with this question? That could accomplish two things:
1) They may have a place in their navigation apps to flag hazardous or known-problem streets, which would help drivers from that company but not others
2) If this kind of situation is common in this area, they may be able to point to solutions that have worked in other cases
posted by five toed sloth at 7:44 AM on May 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

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