Over the last couple of years, Kansas City has developed the Scout system for traffic. Basically, it consists of huge overhead signs along the highway that tell you when there are major accidents, road closings, etc. When there are no accidents or other important messages being broadcast, it gives you a time estimate for the next couple of major exits. I’m sure they have similar systems in other cities, but this is the one I know. I’ve been pretty impressed with it since it started up. It even makes the drive home a little more entertaining sometimes.
For instance, when I’m driving home, I often see on the sign “470/71 10 min” or “State Line 4 min”. It is a nice service in a way because it helps you gauge what traffic is like and how long it is going to take you to get home. But, for people like me with a competitive nature, it becomes more of a challenge. When I see that it is going to take me 4 minutes to hit the State Line exit, I want to make it in 3 minutes, just to prove the sign wrong. If it says it will take me 10 minutes to 470/71, I want to make it in 8. When I do actually beat the sign (which is most of the time) I’m actually proud of myself. I feel like I’ve accomplished something.
The only thing I really hate about the Scout signs is when they say things like “470/71 40 min.” Then I might as well just sink down into my seat and crank up the music because I’m going to be sitting still for a while.
Surely I can’t be the only one that feels this way. Do the Scout signs taunt you too or do you just sit back and take them for what they are?