Warnings are everywhere.

You start your car. Warning lights flash, because it’s three degrees and there is risk of ice. You drive and a warning sound tells you, that you’re running short of petrol. Your postman delivers a parcel. Lucky you, your order from Savile Row, but mind, packaging is plastic, danger to suffocate! So you want to have a break, a chocolate break, “cannot guarantee nut free”, it says. So let’s have a sip of water. No, danger looms, be careful when opening, because container is under pressure. So, what about something to eat? Something, low in calories, low in carbohydrates and low in cholesterol, of course, no, that won’t do, my stove uses gas and my pullover say’s “keep away from fire”. That leaves starvation or cookies as alternatives.

Sometimes, I wonder how I even manage to leave my house. I have to put on my shoes without strangling myself with shoelaces. I have to open the door, without hitting my head and I have to meet the opening without smashing my head against the doorframe…

Warnings are everywhere.

They are considered a pinnacle of modern development. They are here to root out human error. But I think what they accomplish is the exact opposite. The more you are subjected to warnings, the less you will give them any notice. You will simply ignore them, or not perceive them anymore. Something always makes a sound in my car. A beep because petrol is low, a beep because there’s a risk of ice, a beep because the EPS is faulty, a beep because the trunk is open, a beep because, … oh I don’t care! The same applies to warnings on packaging, I don’t care if I’m expected to use a non-metal spoon to stir my coffee and I don’t care whether “this side is up”. You just leave me alone.

However, warning-overflow sometimes causes serious damage, as with the Turkish Airliner that crashed at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Obviously, the crew got fed-up with a warning sound that occurred quite regularly and in the end, they crashed. Warnings, so the conclusion goes, should be administered in a rather tempered way, too much warning will damage your awareness and even make you disregard the warning. Too much warning can seriously damage your health, which means: It’s time to take a measured approach to warnings.

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