Red Stop Signs, Why?

Stop_Sign_TreesSlamming on my brakes, my car slid to a stop at the somewhat hidden stop sign (I may have been distracted by my rather robust sing-along with the radio). The red of the sign caught my attention at the last moment and I reacted — then thought, “Good thing that sign is red, but why is it red?” Have you ever wondered the same thing?

It seems that red is considered the most exciting color causing…

  • elevated blood pressure
  • increased pulse rates
  • heightened nervous tension

…all of which are more likely to grab our attention and cause us to react.

Red is also the color of blood and some feel we have been conditioned from the days of cavemen to react strongly to the sight of it, alarmed that something is very wrong. The key here being that we react strongly to the color red.

All of the above combine to make red an excellent choice for stop signs where reacting is the goal. Seeing that red is also my favorite color, it may help explain why I am so jumpy.

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