MnDOT adds clever messages to highway signs to get your attention

It's not just you – the signs are more charming than usual.

If the road signs seem a bit wittier than usual, it's because Minnesota officials are trying to bring attention to safe driving.

According to a news release, the signs are part of a new campaign called "Message Monday" by Toward Zero Deaths (the state's traffic safety program).

The electronic signs (which are located above freeways and other high-traffic roads) have already been used to display messages about road conditions, speed limits, construction work, and things like extra law enforcement. But these new messages are meant to start conversations.

The first Message Monday (in the photo above) debuted Nov. 14 – it said "Don't fumble your life away. Buckle up!"

Why do we need them?

Traffic fatalities have not gone down significantly in the past five years, MnDOT said, and the department wants to change that. The signs are a new and innovative way to educate motorists on traffic safety risks like speeding, drunk driving, distractions, and aggressive behavior.

But do signs really make a difference? The department says the new signs could possibly help reduce fatalities and serious injuries – they pointed to a recent survey from the U.S. Department of Transportation which found that 45 to 68 percent of motorists indicated that safety-related messages caused changes in their driving behavior.

“We believe the signs have potential to change driver behavior while they are driving," Jay Hietpas, MnDOT state traffic engineer and cochair of the TZD leadership committee said in the release.

MnDOT joins a growing number of states like Iowa that have added a bit of humor to their signs in hopes of changing risky behaviors behind the wheel.

There are 180 of these signs in the Twin Cities’ Metro area and 100 in Greater Minnesota, the department says. About half of them in the cities will display Monday Messages during off-peak hours on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and after 7 p.m. on roadways with higher traffic. In other locations, the messages will be displayed between midnight and noon.

Some future ones you might see include “Driving drowsy could wreck the holidays,” “Friends don’t text friends who are driving,” and “Turn signals – the original instant message.”

MnDOT plans to use references from movies, TV shows, music and pop culture, the Star Tribune said, and motorists will be able to submit suggestions.

Next Up

Ian Cole

Wild trade Greg Pateryn to Avalanche for Ian Cole

Cole won a pair of Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh and is a former first-round pick.


St. Croix County GOP chair resigns after incendiary post on official website

John Kraft sparked controversy with his 'Prepare for War' post on the party website earlier this month.

ann kim

Ann Kim's new restaurant, Sooki & Mimi, to open in February

The James Beard Award winner is the brains behind Young Joni, Pizzeria Lola, and Hello Pizza.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 1.32.19 PM

Firefighters rescue worker after trench fall in Rochester

The construction worker fell about 15 feet.

gray wolf

Grand Marais mayor's dog survives attack by wolves

He heard his 65-pound dog "screaming bloody murder" and then saw the wolves chasing her.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 12.04.55 PM

Minnesota's COVID vaccine appointment site goes live

Huge demand was expected when the site went live at noon.

emily ford

Duluth woman is hiking 1,000-plus miles on the Ice Age Trail this winter

She could be the second person ever to finish a winter-thru hike of the Wisconsin trail.

coronavirus, covid-19, icu

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 19

Two days in a row with fewer than 1,000 new cases.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 10.52.12 AM

After fire destroyed their house, couple forced to euthanize beloved dog

The couple's daughter has launched a fundraiser for her parents.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 10.16.14 AM

Investigation after teacher accused of lewd act during distance learning

No charges have been filed yet and the staff member has not been identified.


Fall is a deadly time for pedestrians, MnDOT says

It's the worst season for pedestrians, because there are less hours of daylight.

MnDOT: Say goodbye to hundreds of construction projects – for now

It's almost time to start complaining about winter driving.

Don't drive like an idiot (and other things to remember when roads are icy)

Here are 4 things you should keep in mind while behind the wheel.

Highway 169 will be closing for 9 months ... sometime soon

It won't close Jan. 10 like initially planned. It'll close Jan. 17.

Ride your bike all the way to Canada on the new North Star Route

It would take the average cyclist more than 21 hours to bike the entire thing.

Ride your bike all the way to Canada on the new North Star Route

It would take the average cyclist more than 21 hours to bike the entire thing.

Out drinking? Just leave your car overnight, you'll get a nice note (and no DWI)

If you drive somewhere and have a few drinks, just leave your car where it's at. You can always get it in the morning.

Buckle up every time – 'Click It or Ticket' is back

You should buckle up every time to avoid a ticket, but more importantly, to save a life.