Safety warning signs on highways become funnier and wittier
A road trip is supposed to be fun with smooth roads, the top down, your hair blowing in the wind, a group of friends providing the entertainment as the setting sun behind you illuminates the exotic scenery enveloping you.
That’s the image. It’s a very western one usually seen in the movies.
A road trip in Bhutan is reality.
Long winding roads pockmarked with potholes, sometimes completely disintegrating into patches of bare earth resembling the surface of the moon, bump you into mind-numbing states resembling a coma. The endless twists and turns, and the nausea that accompanies you like an uninvited guest that never leaves, leaves you craving for the end.
And then to help you deal with your misery, and make the trip just a bit more fun, there are the road signs.
“Peep Peep, Don’t Sleep”
Some are hilarious and no doubt provide a moment of amusement that can help break the monotony of long road trips.
Some are witty.
Some convey social and environmental messages.
Some don’t make any sense at all.
“Don’t be gama, in the land of lama”.
But the majority of these road signs are catchy and amusing enough that occasionally occupants of vehicles stop to take selfies with the signs.
This gives the weary traveller a much-needed excuse for a break.
A frequent traveller from Paro to Thimphu is Tandin Dorji, who said he reads every road signs every time he drives past them. He drives the route every weekend.
“These road signs clearly understand that it’s not the destination but it’s the journey that counts,” Tandin Dorji said. “And they make the journey more enjoyable and better, every day.”
The road signs keep him company and alert while driving.
“Eager To Last, Then Why Fast”
“Speed Thrills But Often Kills”
“If You’re Married, Divorce Speed”
Tandin Dorji knows some of the phrases by heart. “Whenever I say these road signs out loud, I always laugh,” he said. “It also reminds old and new drivers through the messages they convey.”
For tour operator, Tenzin, 31, the roads signs are a source for much needed entertainment for his guests during a journey.
“When tourists see these road signs they burst into laughter because they have never seen one before,” Tenzin said. “These signs help to break the monotony of the journey,” he added. “Many stop by to take a photograph.”
These signs definitely help make the journey a better one, Tenzin said.
It’s not just the tourists who enjoy the signs but locals too.
A graduate, Tshering Sonam, 22, said he recently took a photograph of a road sign that said “After Whisky, Driving Is Risky” located on the Phuentsholing to Samdrupjongkhar highway.
“This road sign is meant for people who loves whisky,” he explained matter of factly. “I hope they are reminded once again of the ill-effects of alcohol,” he said.
“There are also many signs that remind one about the traffic rules,” Tshering said. “It aids the journey to be better and safer.”
To the amusement of his friends and family, Tshering Sonam regularly uploads pictures of such signs onto social media. His albums are quite a hit.
Like on the road, the signs are a source for amusement and laughter even to those not travelling. And through that humour they perhaps do have some intangible impact on contributing to reaching your destination.
Like the sign that reads:
“Life is a journey, complete it”