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Differences between Blank Out Signs and Dynamic Message Signs

Driving would be impossible without the many road signs we depend on to guide traffic. The latest form of roadway signs have using LED technology housed in high strength, weather resistant cabinet. Some LED roadway signs are designed to handle limited 2-4 messages while others can show a vast array of messages. Some of these signs are called blank out signs or dynamic message signs, but it can be hard for average drivers to tell the difference.

However, when transportation agencies need to implement signage, it’s important for them to be able to assess the situation and decide exactly which type of sign is best for the job. Here’s a short guide to help you understand how that decision is made, as well as the key differences between these two types of traffic signs.

Blank Out Signs

Blank out signs are a more affordable relative of the dynamic message sign. They have the ability to perform most of the functions of dynamic signs, but often at a much lower cost to the agency using them. Despite their affordability, many agencies choose not to use these signs, as they are limited to a certain number of messages and characters.

Dynamic Message Signs (aka. Variable Message Signs)

As the name suggests, these signs are dynamic, which means they can change the messages being displayed. While they offer much greater versatility and are generally more effective, they cost a lot more. Not only that, but they eat up more power than blank out signs, and generally cost more to implement in general. Dynamic Message Signs

Which is better?

While it would seem that blank out signs are the better option, their limited messaging capabilities lend them more to specific situations, such as telling drivers where to stop or telling commercial drivers where the next weighing station is. One in three fatal crashes were the result of speeding in the U.S., and blank out signs can help notify drivers of reduced speeds, for example. Dynamic message signs, on the other hand, can be used to provide traffic updates on busy roadways, as well as make announcements regarding construction or other roadblocks ahead.

Both types of signage provide accurate messages to drivers on the road, just know, the biggest difference is that variable message signs can provide real-time updates, while blank out signs are best suited to static situations.

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