Roadside memorials – a fascinating cultural practice


Leave sooner, drive slower, live longer.  ~Author Unknown

In my first post on roadside memorials (Death is real, and your car is dangerous), I introduced the subject.  Since then, I’ve done some more research, and an noticing them more.

Many memorials have no name, often because the name has worn off from the elements.  Like this memorial, the deceased are only remembered by their loved ones.

Drivesafely However, in both Florida and South Dakota, the DMV has taken it upon themselves to put up official roadside markers at these locations, mostly because many of them are put in dangerous or inappropriate places, and are often not anchored well and are moved by rains and wind.

SDwhydiemarker The road marker to the left is the simple one put up in Florida.  In South Dakota, they have a bit more of an aggressive message (see right).  In addition, if more than one person dies at the spot, you can see an entire line of signs, one for each person.

If you use any of the newer ‘check-in’ applications on your smartphone, you may want to do like I have, and that is to enter the locations of these in as a place to stop and check in.  Applications include:

  • BrightKite
  • Cause World (donates to charities)
  • DodgeBall
  • Foursquare (most popular, and my favorite)
  • Gowalla (up and coming)
  • Loopt
  • MyTown
  • Rummble
  • Whrrl

Go to your phone’s marketplace, start with FourSquare or Gowalla, and then branch out to others if you want. And drive carefully!