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Fake Pothole Speed Control Device Photographs


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Outline

Message claims that attached photographs show a new speed control tactic that consists of laying very realistic looking fake pothole stickers on the roadway.

Car Suspension
© Depositphotos.com/Aleksandr Strela



Brief Analysis

The fake potholes are not a speed control tactic. In fact, they were used as part of a 2007 advertisement for Pioneer Suspension, a vehicle suspension supplier.

   

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Example

Subject: Speed bump..oh nooo Speed control used in Canada

Speed controls being used in Eastern Canada

THIS IS CLEVER

GREAT new speed limit device.....I would slow down rather than take a chance!
I don't know about you, but I know this would slow me down! I see myself slowing down, trying to 'straddle' the hole, then breathing again when I cleared it without hitting it! This is actually a speed control device. Scroll down and look at all three pictures! And it's much cheaper than speed cameras!!!

Fake Potholes 1

Fake Potholes 2

Fake Potholes 3



Detailed Analysis

According to this email forward, fake potholes are being placed on roadways in order to slow down drivers in an innovative attempt to combat the problem of speeding. The first two photographs show what appear to be quite large and deep potholes in the lanes of a busy motorway. However, the last photograph shows that the "potholes" are in fact strategically positioned stickers that have been placed on the roadway. Although they only consist of flat images of potholes, the stickers would look three dimensional and quite realistic to approaching drivers.

However, the stickers are not used as speed limiting devices as claimed in the message. The text painted on the roadway a few meters ahead of each pothole sticker show their real purpose. In reality, they were used as part of an advertisement for Pioneer Suspension, a vehicle suspension supplier. The ad was intended to suggest to drivers that, with Pioneer Suspension fitted to their vehicles, they would enjoy a smooth ride even on rough roads. Information about the ad published on the Ads of The World website notes:
POTHOLE STICLER - A large sticker of a pothole was laid on the road creating the illusion of a real pothole. Drivers would see it and slow down to avoid the jerk to their car but would feel nothing. The message "FEELS LIKE PIONEER SUSPENSION" was painted a few meters ahead.
According to Ads of the World, the ad was created by Advertising Agency, Y&R Everest, Mumbai, India in 2007. It is unclear under what conditions or circumstances the advertising tactic was carried out. As many commentators have noted, unless the tactic was used in very controlled conditions, such fake potholes could actually be quite dangerous. Approaching drivers could swerve suddenly to avoid the "pothole" and serious accidents could result.

A similar tactic was used in an ad for Ford Ranger in 2006. Ads of the World notes:
The projects purpose was to allow drivers to experience the Ford pickup's attribute of softness on hostile surfaces. In order to achieve this, several floor graphics were imprinted with cracks, snow and/or mud in various city streets. Next to them, a road signal that read "This is how it feels, Ford Ranger" was placed. Drivers drove through a difficult road without feeling it; situation that led them to experience the unique softness of riding in a Ford pickup. The floor graphics were placed in lateral streets and parking areas with speed limits that didn't exceed 10 kilometers per hour, with the objective of looking out for the driver's safety.
Such tactics might be quite effective as advertising mechanisms. However, given their potential to cause accidents, it seems doubtful that any jurisdiction would use such potholes stickers as speed limiting devices on busy roadways.



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Last updated: March 19, 2015
First published: June 6, 2008
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Pioneer Suspensions: Pothole
Ford Ranger: Rough road






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