Case in point: uppercase is dangerous

Wall Street signWhen I was younger, I had a friend who wrote only in capital letters. I always thought it must have taken him longer to write than lowercase, and it was a bit more difficult to read (not to mention the fact that all caps makes it look like you’re being shouted at).

Now, it seems that it’s been proven that text in uppercase is more difficult and time-consuming to read than lowercase (or initial case). It only takes a few milliseconds longer, but the US federal highway administration has decided that these milliseconds could be life-threatening.

From the New York Post:

“Studies have shown that it is harder to read all-caps signs, and those extra milliseconds spent staring away from the road have been shown to increase the likelihood of accidents, particularly among older drivers.”

The city of New York has decided to change all of their street signs from all caps to initial caps in order to increase safety on their streets. This move will cost an estimated 27.6 million US dollars, including the design of a new font, Clearview.

I’m in favour of safety as well as new typefaces, so I hope this move will lower the road toll in New York City.

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