The federal government is cracking down on highway humor.

Road trips in Montana are generally fun, with miles and miles of open highway, winding mountain passes, and neverending views to enjoy with your big bag of gas station snacks. One small blip of highway humor will be going away, as the federal government is banning the use of silly safe-driving reminders on those large digital highway signs you see on the interstate.

Image via YouTube. Credit FOX 10 Phoenix
Image via YouTube. Credit FOX 10 Phoenix
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One less thing to look for on the roads.

Long road trips in Big Sky Country can also be monotonous (if we're being honest), where there's not exactly much to look at. Especially when boredom sets in on a route you've driven a hundred times, say Billings to Bozeman.

Catching a witty message on one of the highway signs can break up a boring drive, at least for a moment. We saw a funny one on the big digital sign over Bozeman Pass a while back regarding not smoking weed while driving. "Somebody at MDOT has a sense of humor," I thought to myself. Some states like Nevada even encouraged residents to submit their suggestions.

Image via YouTube, credit FOX 29 Philadelphia
Image via YouTube, credit FOX 29 Philadelphia
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The killjoy Federal Highway Administration is giving states two years to comply.

Many experts believe the witty signs are effective, simply because they get our attention. We're more likely to remember something like "CAMP IN THE PARK, NOT THE LEFT LANE" or "TURN SIGNALS, THE ORIGINAL INSTANT MESSAGE" instead of boring reminders about highway safety we've all seen or heard a thousand times.

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Working in some Taylor Swift lyrics. Image via YouTube, credit KTLA 5
Clever, with the Taylor Swift lyrics. Image via YouTube, credit KTLA 5
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According to Jalopnik, funny traffic signs have been on the feds' radar since at least 2021, when the draft language in the now updated 1,100-page manual reads,

Messages with obscure or secondary meanings, such as those with popular cultural references, unconventional sign legend syntax, or that are intended to be humorous, should not be used. 

The updated highway sign rules go into effect on 1/18/24, but the agency is giving states two years to comply. What is the best highway sign message you've spotted on your travels around the Treasure State? Drop a comment on Facebook or send us a Chat Message on our mobile app.

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