Feature

Mother of all traffic signs

The week's news at a glance.

Brussels

A new traffic sign installed by Belgian officials on one stretch of highway was quickly taken down after it became the subject of widespread mockery. The sign was meant to instruct truck drivers not to pass other vehicles in bad weather. But it used no fewer than seven symbols to try to convey the information: a B for Belgium, a cloudburst, a no-passing symbol, a weight-limit symbol, and smaller symbols to indicate an upcoming bridge, oncoming traffic, and an undivided highway. Amsterdam’s Algemeen Dagblad speculated that Belgian drivers would be more likely to veer off the highway while trying to read the sign than while passing another vehicle. A Belgian official conceded that some of the symbols were superfluous. “We know that we’re in Belgium, and that it’s always raining,” said Johan de Mol.

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