It feels counterintuitive, but those dynamic display signs on highways and roads — the ones that flash safety messages and warnings against distracted driving — may actually contribute to more accidents. The messages are a kind of behavioural intervention — they (supposedly) remind people to pay attention to avoid crashes.

Today in The Conversation Canada, Jonathan Hall of the University of Toronto and Joshua Madsen of the University of Minnesota write about their findings examining the impact of safety messages on highways in Texas. What they found flew in the face of convention, but also seems like common sense: “Contrary to policymakers’ expectations (and ours), we found that displaying fatality messages increases the number of crashes.” Their findings indicate that consistent evaluation and revision of behavioural interventions may be the key to changing behaviour.

Also today:

All the best, 

Nehal El-Hadi

Science + Technology Editor

Road signs often display safety messages in an attempt to reduce road crashes. (Callum Blacoe/Unsplash)

Roadside safety messages increase crashes by distracting drivers

Jonathan Hall, University of Toronto; Joshua Madsen, University of Minnesota

A study of displayed road signs in Texas shows that, surprisingly, safety messages may actually make roads less safe.

Advertising encourages consumption, including products and activities that use large volumes of fossil fuels. (Shutterstock)

Cigarette ads were banned decades ago. Let’s do the same for fossil fuels

Peter Dietsch, University of Victoria

The number of people who die from climate change each year is roughly the same as the number of people who die from tobacco use.

A protestor shouts at people taking part in the March for Life on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in May, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle

Overturning Roe v. Wade would have wide-reaching implications beyond U.S. borders

Candace Johnson, University of Guelph

Roe v. Wade demonstrates that reproductive rights are fragile, often insufficient and in need of protection everywhere.

Plum Ridge School, the first school for Ukrainians in Manitoba, in Pleasant Home, seen in 1908. CP PHOTO/1999/National Archives of Canada/PA-088422

Ukrainian language schools in Western Canada were shaped by shifting settler colonial policies

Andrea Sterzuk, University of Regina

Ukrainian language education in the Canadian Prairies was shaped by shifting policies governing non-English immigrant settler language instruction in a larger settler colonial context.

Physical activity can be an important tool for recovery from the collective trauma experienced and exacerbated throughout the pandemic. (Shutterstock)

Levelling the playing field: How a trauma-informed approach can make physical activity more accessible

Francine Darroch, Carleton University; Lyndsay Hayhurst, York University, Canada

During spring and summer, as more people consider exercising outdoors, a trauma- and violence-informed approach to physical activity can help ensure equity, inclusion, safety and access.

La Conversation Canada

L’un des mythes qui contribuent à maintenir le fossé orgasmique est qu’il existe des différences intrinsèques entre les hommes et les femmes quant à ce qu’ils veulent des rapports sexuels. Shutterstock

Pourquoi les hommes ont-ils plus d’orgasmes que les femmes dans les relations hétérosexuelles ?

Nicole Andrejek, McMaster University

Il faut comprendre l’écart entre les hommes et les femmes en termes d’orgasmes comme une forme d’inégalité entre les sexes.

Ukraine Invasion


Culture + Society