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Visibility Is Key to Parking Lot Sign Posts

Parking lot sign posts serve a vital purpose—they convey important information and help to prevent accidents and injury.  They can only perform these functions, however, when they are easily visible.  Fortunately, psychologists have determined common factors that aid visibility.  These include:

  • Proper height. Effective sign posts should be high enough for drivers to easily see.  Generally, 5 feet from the surrounding surface to the bottom of the sign is considered sufficient for these purposes.  In some cases, parking lot sign posts are located 7 feet or higher, such as when they designate specific zones in the lot.
  • Proper coloring.  Studies show that the human eye most readily perceives messages in a tone that strongly contrast with the background color.  Yellow and black are common combinations, as are red and white.
  • Proper construction.  Parking lot sign posts must be able to withstand low-speed impact with vehicles without significant damage.  There are two ways to achieve this purpose.  One is to construct the sign posts from steel or another resilient material.  Another is to mount it on a spring-loaded base.  One method relies on resisting the force of impact, the other on the "bend rather than break" principle.
  • Proper communication.  Drivers have minimal time in which to interpret signage.  A delay of even a few seconds can cause accidents and injuries.  For this reason, parking lot sign posts must contain simple, direct messages that are easy to understand.  Clear, short text and universally used graphics help to achieve this purpose.
  • Proper placement.  Even the most carefully designed parking lot sign posts are useless unless they're located where drivers and others can easily see and respond to them.  In general, installers should place signage in front of each space as well as at entry and exit points.

Parking lot sign posts are among the most useful public safety devices available.  To accomplish their purpose, however, they must be used according to best practices and installed correctly.