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The Great Garfield Car Window Toy Craze (2016) (mentalfloss.com)
40 points by curtis a year ago | hide | past | web | 39 comments | favorite

I found the ubiquitous "BABY ON BOARD" signs far more annoying. As though everyone around the minivan in question would quietly, meekly scuttle past at 5 MPH above the speed limit lest they disturb baby and then go right back to their Road-Warrioresque shenanigans.

My understanding is that the BABY ON BOARD sign is to notify emergency personnel arriving to a car accident that there is a child/baby in the vehicle who will not be able to get out of the vehicle on their own etc.

Personally, I've also looked at the BABY ON BOARD signs as a heads-up that the person driving that vehicle may be more cautious or slower than other cars. I treat it like a student driver decal.

I don't believe the emergency services would check based on a anything like a "baby on board" sign. If they can check then they will, regardless of any sign. For a start, anything like that is going to fall off in a significant crash. Secondly, plenty of cars don't have them, and other cars have them when there isn't a child on board. Thirdly, a plastic sign would be one of the first things to melt if there was a fire. And lastly, if it was true then the emergency services would recommend drivers have them. They'd give them away as promotional items. No one would need to buy one.

It can't be true.

Wishful thinking on the part of the parents. It doesn't have to actually be effective for that to be the intended use.

They're ubiquitous for the same reason as those Apple stickers: bundling, in this case with baby car seats.

That doesn't explain the semi-ironic ones very well, and the individualized ones (the ones with the baby's name) not at all.

Maybe they are all gifts given by people who want to signal that they care but consider it too boring to give something that is actually useful.

And who either don't care or understand or who secretly enjoy that they are forcing the receivers' hands into making a fool of themselves out of politeness.

I interpret it as a warning that the driver may be distracted by their passenger and for instance brake or slow down unexpectedly.

Similarly, I've heard that motorcyclists should not leave their passenger footpegs folded down when riding solo, as emergency responders will look for an ejected passenger in event of a crash.

So am I supposed to weld them in place? How is something like that going to remain in place during a crash? I would find that claim slightly more believable if they were to remain up to prevent snagging the rider during a crash.

My motorcycle foot pegs are mounted and hinged in a way that they fold up when they contact the ground, I believe this is typical of most motorcycles.

You have two of the passenger pegs, and (typically, unless you crash in a truly spectacular fashion) only one side to land on.

Your riding pegs are designed to fold so that you don't go flying when riding on the limit.

(Source: Used to ride MCs, and got through a low speed yet very expensive high side. Have also been dragging my knees and shaving the pegs at the Phillip Island GP Circuit.)

I'm aware of how the passenger pegs work and why. If the passenger pegs are meant to be a signal to emergency responders then Honda should have used a more positive locking mechanism. As it stands the pegs could quite easily be folded up or down in a slide, even on one side. They are not a useful indicator of the presence of a passenger.

I don't think source means what you think it means.

I'd think more likely tired and stressed out. but YMMV

> I found the ubiquitous "BABY ON BOARD" signs far more annoying.

The little customizable families with tall stick figures for adults and tiny stick figures for kids and stick figure cats/dogs drive me utterly insane, for some reason.

I saw a variation of those recently with an Imperial AT-AT attacking the family. I did laugh.

A lot of people seem to be really bothered by those, and I have no idea why.

They don’t have a family and/or live an empty life? IDK, whatever you do someone is going to ge upset.

I always took issue with the primacy of young children as occupants, why didn't "middle aged diabetic on board" never take off? Is my father-in-law's life less important than my kid's? Does he deserve less careful driving?

I read it more like "I'm a new parent and highly risk-averse. Please avoid aggressive driving near me."

They probably work somewhat because people don't want to be aggressive around babies.

I've always wondered why the parents aren't worried about /standing out/ and thus being more likely to be considered as a target?

If they're truly risk adverse I'd also expect those drivers to either migrate right over to the HOV lane (far left) and use cruise control at the speed limit... or do something similar in either the non-passing lane or the second lane from the right (next to the merge lane instead of in it).

I was explained that the primary purpose is so emergency responders know to look in the event of a crash.

I once asked a first responder (firefighter) if they actually pay any attention to those signs when responding to a crash. They don't.

A professional first responder is going to look in the back seat regardless. A first-on-scene good samaritan might not.

On the other hand, I've had 3 babies and never put up such a sign, despite feeling very protective of them, so my intuition may be signalling some other reason why such signs are useless.

Generally I'm a little more relaxed after seeing Baby on Board. "What is this crazy person doing!? - Ah, 'Baby on Board'" A reminder to have some empathy for other people on the road is something everyone could benefit from.

A reminder to have some empathy for ALL people on the road regardless of whether or not they have reproduced is something EVERYONE could benefit from. Empathy should not be so selective. Please drive carefully all the time.

It's annoying, but I think if we're talking bad, "peeing Calvin" is the top of the heap. Garfield was intended that way by its creator, whereas that ugly bootleg decal is micturating on the legacy of Bill Watterson.

Part of me always wondered whether it was so if there was a horrific crash people would know to dig around in the wreckage for the baby seat.

I've always assumed "BABY" referred to the driver -- a warning to expect immature behavior.

The nerve of some people, asking you to drive more safely, just because they have a baby on board.

I wonder if there is any stats around it actually having an effect? Do the police record the presence of such signs?

I don't have a baby on board sign on my motorcycle, should I get one in order to get people to stop trying to kill me on the road? Or do I need to bring an actual baby?

It's naive to think that anyone is going to drive more safely when they see one of those signs.

And frankly, anyone who actually does needs to reevaluate their priorities. If you see those signs and feel the need to change your driving style, then you know intuitively that your actions are putting people at risk. Yet you continue to drive like that when there aren't babies around?

Why is it acceptable to put everyone else's lives at risk except when you're told one of them is a baby?

...of 1987, fwiw

Ugh, between the pop music of the time (e-NUFF with the fewkin' synths already) and the height of the Garfield era, the '80s were a dark time. I always suspected that Garfield was just a marketing company in disguise, a natural outgrowth of what Peanuts had become, without the benefit of the pop psychology. I mean, The Family Circus shows more long-term originality.

Garfield exhibits the perfect banality of good entertainment.

It's not edgy, its something everyone can empathize with, it talks about normal work-a-day problems (without too much depth), and most importantly, it makes you think (but not too much).

It's literally entertainment, for entertainments sake - there is no higher meaning other than to be a distraction for a couple minutes, and perhaps to be reminding that, yes, someones life is worse than yours.

I remember seeing these in cars periodically although they weren't as common as I would have thought with over 2 million sold. When I heard that Jim Davis had a team of writers for the Garfield comic strip I completely lost respect for both the comic and Davis. I would have thought if you had a team of writers that the comic should at least be funny occasionally.

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