Keeping Trucks and Bridges Safe — Are You Experienced?

On my way back from lunch the other day, I noticed something on the side of a UPS truck. It was a backwards sign that read, “HEIGHT 11' 6”.”

I was curious.

There were two guys standing in front of the truck having a very animated conversation. I assumed one of them was the driver — the UPS shirt tipped me off.

I stopped, waited for a pause in the story, and asked permission to take a picture of the truck.

They both looked like they were suspicious of me, which I expected — random passersby don’t often just stop and ask to take a picture of UPS trucks, even in the city.

There was a moment of silence and then the older guy said, “Sure.”

I explained that I was in the user experience field, my job was to make products easier to use, that I’d never seen the height sign before on a truck, and thought it offered a great experience for drivers.

I said, “I think it’s brilliant signage, designed to be seen only by the driver, so that when you’re just about to go under a bridge that’s 11' 5” off the ground, you can quickly look in your side view mirror and see that you’re going to lose the top of your truck.”

Then the guy who had been doing all the story-telling when I walked up, all of a sudden, became my friend.

“Oh yeah, especially in the city. You gotta know how tall everything is to get around.”

I asked if they added it themselves.

He said, “Nah, it was on there when we bought it. They all come that way now.”

I took the picture, we chatted a little more, I thanked them, and headed back to work.

One little sign, taped backwards on the side of a truck, only readable by the driver, makes sure that bridges, overhangs, trucks and the guys who drive them all have a better experience.

I did see another UPS truck later that day and it had the same sign.


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