Social Question

kevbo's avatar

What do you think of roadside memorials to people who have died from car crashes?

Asked by kevbo (25611points) June 22nd, 2010 from iPhone

I’m sure they’re important to people close to the victims, but there’s a part of me that really doesn’t care to have my stream of consciousness interrupted by the thought that someone I don’t know died on some unknown date near the median. Plus, I mean isn’t that what grave sites are for?

Also, “In loving memory of” car window decals and t-shirts.

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23 Answers

Jude's avatar

Roadside memorials? I find it to be incredibly sad. Other than that, who cares if they’re there.

“In loving memory of” stuff? Doesn’t bother me.

Aethelwine's avatar

I find them very sad, but they are also distracting. Hopefully the distraction doesn’t cause another accident.

aprilsimnel's avatar

There’s a couple of those near the Brooklyn City Hall. Both are of little kids who were mowed down by cars. One of them is the actual bike one boy was riding at the time of his death, spray-painted white. I found that one quite morbid and have gone out of my way to avoid it since.

Berserker's avatar

I’ve never seen any, and I agree with you…it’s like going to work on a fine morning and seeing bullshit election signs everywhere. I want to see cute little birds on my way to the ward, not fucking vultures.

However, those are still better than those ’‘Drowsy Drivers Die!’’ road signs I’ve heard about.

kevbo's avatar

@aprilsimnel, this Q was inspired by a white 10-speed decorated with silk/plastic flowers.

MacBean's avatar

I rather like the ones on the backroads near my house. They kind of say “Watch the fuck out, this curve is dangerous.”

Seaofclouds's avatar

Some areas won’t allow them. We tried to put one up for a friend of mine after she was killed in a car accident on Christmas Eve a few years ago but the city wouldn’t let us because they said they are too much of a distraction.

I normally don’t pay much attention to them, but I can see how some of them can be distracting.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I don’t mind except for the distraction, which, much like election yard signs, make me want to read the whole thing, which then has me subconsciously careening towards a curb…

YARNLADY's avatar

In addition to remembering the dead, they are also supposed to serve as reminders to drive safer. California has decided to use them to make money off peoples sorrow by removing any handmade memorials, and charging for an ‘official’ state memorial to be erected.

Cruiser's avatar

I pity their loss and how hard it is to lose someone that way…but at the same time I shake my head at the stupidity of the driver who caused that crash. In our area 80+% are solo stupid kid car crashes losing control and hitting trees.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I think there should be a time limit. Would you want that on your front lawn?
It inevitably turns into a mess.

Merriment's avatar

I understand, I think, that need to impress upon the world that your loved one did exist.

They were here and now they are gone…

And the only thing that can make that loss worse is to imagine them forgotten.

It wouldn’t be something I would do, but to each his own.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

They’re a tradition in our area of northern New England. Just a white cross with name. In Europe they can get elaborate, with stone and photographs. Some friends put up one for Meg last year, the snow plow knocked it over and I’ve asked that it not be replaced. It was a sadness seeing it every day. I suppose they might have some usefulness in reminding drivers graphically about a dangerous section of road.

AmWiser's avatar

@Merriment is so right on. And I think its more for friends than family. Because like you said what are cemeteries for.

@worriedguy has an ideal solution—There should be a time limit (maybe set by each jurisdiction)

SuperMouse's avatar

Although I have never looked at them from @MacBean‘s perspective before, I admit that roadside memorials annoy me, as do rolling tributes to the dead. I’ve never really been able to put my finger on exactly why they bother me but they do. I suppose i see them as a rather morbid way to get attention.

I probably wouldn’t be so bothered if. as @worriedguy mentioned, they had a time limit. Then of course you run into the question of what the time limit should be, who decides, and how is it enforced. Personally I think a twist on California’s idea mentioned by @YARNLADY might be the answer. Invite the family and friends to adopt that stretch of highway and have a sign announcing that it has been adopted in memory of the lost loved one.

crankywithakeyboard's avatar

I don’t have a problem with it. It gets me curious, though, and I start imagining the sequence of events that caused the person’s death. Morbid.

But I do think they serve as a little extra reminder to be careful in that area.

mattbrowne's avatar

A great idea !

augustlan's avatar

I don’t understand them at all. No one erects a shrine/memorial on your bed if you die in your sleep. Even a tragic accident at home (say, falling down a flight of stairs) doesn’t elicit this kind of thing. I wrote a blog post about this stuff (including those “In Loving Memory Of” decals on cars), because it just confounds me.

Fenris's avatar

People are afraid of being forgotten. They erect memorials like this because many people understand the fear of being forgotten, and can ease that fear through enshrinement.

YARNLADY's avatar

@augustlan You are mistaken about beds and such. In some homes, the bed and bedroom of the deceased is enshrined, and in some cases, an entire house or estate (Graceland) is enshrined.

augustlan's avatar

@YARNLADY You do have a point, but I doubt it’s nearly as widespread a practice as the roadside memorial.

gemiwing's avatar

I take a moment to feel some emotion about a family’s loss, remind myself of what’s at stake every time I get behind the wheel and then I drive a bit safer.

The bicycles are part of the Ghost Bike movement. One of our friends was killed while riding and the community put up a ghost bike for her. It helps to see it, to know it stands as a reminder that cyclists are real people, with real families and friends who miss them- so please be considerate of them on the roads.

I look at roadside memorials as a necessary act to re-insert humanity into an increasingly inhumane world and existence. The people you cut off to get to work two minutes faster have a family, have a life and it’s important to remind ourselves of that. Sometimes I truly need that reminder.

Justice13's avatar

They’re a trick, meant to distract you, and cause YOU to die from a car crash.

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