Strobing Billboards Are a Bit Much, Says Man in Ditch


May 29, 2014 - Local

by Mike Wibbly

I hope that this letter doesn’t inconvenience you.

Driving is a dangerous proposition these days. Last year, more than 30,000 people died in vehicle-related accidents.

I also understand that it’s important to sell things. I’ve read a lot in the news recently about unemployment and don’t want to suggest we stifle economic growth just a few years after one of the worst economic downturns in U.S. history.

Yet, as I sit writing in my overturned Kia Sedona in this ditch, I wonder if the strobing billboard recently installed on I-405 is a bit much.

Now, it’s important to admit that I am not a perfect driver. I have definitely sent a text or two while driving even though I knew I should have pulled off to the side of the road. I also got in a car accident when I was 19 years old after running a stop sign in my father’s Buick.

Man, he really took me out to the shed for that one.

But I still think that even with those things in mind, it’s not completely out of line to suggest that the billboard right before Exit 33 is still a little over the top.

The flashing bulbs across the top and bottom make it very attractive to the eye, and the rotating lasers pointing outward from the billboard have a tendency to scatter across the windshield and create a blinding display of color that renders the road practically invisible. Because it changes displays every three-or-so seconds, it’s also a lot more difficult to ignore than a traditional billboard.

Similarly, the spinning LED arrow on the pole supporting the billboard tends to pull one’s eyes from the road. I am fairly sure that’s what first grabbed my attention before I lost control of the wheel and subsequently oversteered into this ditch.

I’m sure advertisers pay extra money for their message to be placed on this billboard, so I don’t want to suggest they get short-changed if you take it down. Perhaps it would be best to wait until the end of the month to do so.

Thank you for your time.