The shape and color of the stop signs have been standardized by the 1920s. And even though we discussed how they got their red color in a previous article, we left out one very important piece of information: why do they have eight sides?
Well, wonder no more. Here’s the explanation.
When deciding on the shape of the stop sign, The American Association of State Highway Officials chose the octagon as they saw quite a few visibility advantages with this unique shape. First of all, this shape makes it easy for all the drivers that are travelling in the opposite direction to be able to recognize the sign from the back. But there’s more than that. (the article continues after the ad)
The original stop signs weren’t reflective* as they are today, the AASHO needed a shape that would be recognizable at night. And that’s why they went on with the octagon instead of the circular, square or rectangular shape that other signs have.
Now you know!
* Stop signs nowadays are retroreflective. This means that if your headlights are pointed on them, the light will be reflected back to you.