Jan 17, 2024 - News

Love letter to Massachusetts' highway signs: RIP 'use yah blinkah,' 'stay classy'

A Massachusetts highway sign that reads, "stay classy Massachusetts."

Photo: Nicolaus Czarnecki/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

Friends, carpoolers and road ragers, we gather here not to curse out the feds, but to mourn the highway signs they're killing.

Catch up fast: The U.S. Federal Highway Administration's war on fun, once waged against New Jersey, has spread nationwide.

  • The electronic highway messages that brought some levity during traffic jams will be phased out by 2026 under new federal rules.
  • That includes the "use yah blinkahs" signs that debuted in 2014, and the "stay classy, Massachusetts" signs that went live later.

Why it matters: To know Bay State drivers is to love them in spite of their terrible, aggressive driving.

  • They don't call us Massholes for nothing.

Zoom in: The highway administration wants messages that are "simple, direct, brief, legible and clear" … and devoid of humor.

  • Really. The administration's new manual cautions against signs that are "intended to be humorous" or have pop culture references lest they be misunderstood by most drivers.

Yes, but: Just about everyone in Massachusetts knows what a "blinker" is.

  • Some even heed the signs' warnings.

Steph's thought bubble: To the state workers behind those signs, thank you for making us laugh while we try to survive the MassPike and I-93.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Boston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Boston stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Boston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more