MassDOT urging commuters to ‘Use Yah Blinkah’

New messages appeared Friday morning on the state’s electronic highway signs.

Photo from MassDOT

New messages appeared Friday morning on the state’s electronic highway signs.

When the Massachusetts Department of Transportation chose to warn drivers about the need to indicate before changing lanes, they opted for a familiar patois: the Boston accent.

New messages appeared Friday morning on the state’s electronic highway signs, reading “CHANGING LANES? USE YAH BLINKAH.” The electronic message, which will be on display through the weekend, prompted an eruption of reactions, ranging from delight to horror, on social media as motorists spotted the missives during their morning commute.


“An actual sign entering Boston reads: ‘Changing lanes? Use yah blinkah.’ I kid you not,” wrote one Twitter user.

“WICKED clevah!” wrote another.

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A few folks expressed dismay: “I’m saddened that this is real.”

The messages were prompted by an e-mail complaint from a Massachussetts resident who identified himself as “James” and requested that the transportation agency try to discourage drivers from changing lanes willy-nilly.

“Occasionally, can the Transportation Dept set up their sign to remind motorists to use their directional signals when changing lanes or moving to an exit ramp. For safety sake and courtesy, it would be great if people on our streets and highways would use their signals when changing lanes,” James wrote. “I’m not sure if it is thoughtlessness or ignorance, or indifference.”


Sara Lavoie, MassDOT spokeswoman, said the agency saw the e-mail suggestion and decided to give it a try — and have a little fun at the same time.

So far this year, police departments across the state have given out 1,083 tickets for failure to signal before changing lanes. Last year, police gave out 4,967 tickets for that violation, and 4,359 in 2012.


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Martine Powers can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @martinepowers.
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