Nederlands Path: Home / Start your own collection / At any time and everywhere, be prepared
At any time and everywhere, be prepared

Collections are serious business. Traffic sign collections are no exception.
Dabblers cannot grow healthy road sign collections.

Your preparation starts at home.

Imprint the searching image.
Once you have choosen your message (remember: the message is important) inform you on the different appearances you can expect. It reduces the time needed to decide on a possibly non-standard sign. The earlier you decide the more time to halt the vehicle after your alarm.

Useful sites for your study are

R.C. Moeurs site is extremely well documented, a treasure on road sign knowledge. Enjoy. Let's nevertheless hope his influence will not reach too far (read the third condition).

Be certain to set your specifications.
How different a traffic sign needs to be, to be considered different. Be clear about that, otherwise you are in for never ending negotiations. On this site:
  • shape and material of the sign and background of the image are non-differentiating.
  • a mirrored sign is a different sign
  • small details are only relevant if discernible from at least fifty meters.
  • only pictures of signs found in the wild qualify; no museum pieces are accepted.

Study and exercise your stop-vocabulary
If you did spot a new sign, and you are not the driver, you must nevertheless stop that machine as fast and safe as possible, and within walking distance of the object of your dreams. If you need to ask some one (tour-leader, fellow-traveller) to ask the driver to halt, your collection wil never grow. You better stop collecting traffic signs.
The thoroughbred road sign collector addresses drivers throughout the world in their own language.
The Armenian story shows the importance of this advice. At least following words are needed: Stop, now, please, thank you. Memorize the equivalents in English, French, Spanish, German, the more languages the better. Learn to use them loud and with authority. More words are useful to explain what it is all about. Explain only afterwards.

Don't undo your home-work when on the field.

Never leave the home without camera.
In case of emergency You can always ask some one to take a picture. But imagine your own reaction on such a request. You could try to return to the place. Once upon a time a sign stroke my eye near Brussels Airport. I returned two days later. The sign was gone. To my big relief I was able to rediscover it several blocks away. An ex-team-member lost, in the same stupid manner, a unique specimen in the subway of Paris. I don't take any chance, since.

Carry a duplicate of the collection with you.
Take at least the relevant pictures with you. They will be of value during deliberations. They may be helpful in order to excite the interest of drivers.

Put your vocabulary in practise.
Remember: address the driver. You are part of a group? Then don't wait for the history of that picturesque façade. If not in their mothertongue, most people will not perceive your instructions as an interruption.

Stay alert, even when waiting before red traffic lights.
Many drivers go down in a state of lethargy when halted. You will miss many opportunities, joining the snoring bunch. Road crossings and in general all places where traffic halts, form on average better hunting ground.

Next section: Benefits of roadsign collecting

Path: Home / Start your own collection / At any time and everywhere, be prepared