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Video of virtual ads on semitruck sparks debate among onlookers: 'Because what drivers really need is more distractions'

"Welcome to dystopia."

"Welcome to dystopia."

Photo Credit: Reddit

A driver on the freeway was dismayed to see a semitruck with something unusual on the back: a digital billboard display.

They posted a video of the display on Reddit, which shows the billboard flashing between three different ads in a span of just 20 seconds. Understandably, commenters were disturbed and angered. 

"Welcome to dystopia."
Photo Credit: Reddit

Many of the commenters were angered by the risks inherent in flashing advertisements directly at drivers. "Oh good, something for me to look at instead of the road as a driver," one commented sarcastically.

"Because what drivers really need is more distractions," another said. "It's not like distracted driving causes 9% of all fatal accidents; 280,000 injuries and 3,000 deaths per year."

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time that advertising displays have popped up in unwelcome places. From the backs of trucks to the walls of school buses, boats, public bathrooms, and even inside fortune cookies, it seems that fewer and fewer places are immune to being sold for ad space.

"Welcome to dystopia," one person wrote.

This unwelcome, ubiquitous presence of advertising has a real, measurable impact on our mental health. According to the University of Southern California, the average person sees about 5,000 advertisements per day. With multiple studies showing an inverse relationship between advertising and well-being, it's safe to say that advertising does literally make us unhappy.

One key reason behind this relationship is that ads feed into an economic mindset of overconsumption, which makes consumers feel as if they need to keep making new purchases to gain satisfaction or status. According to Adfree Cities, this traps consumers "in a cycle of purchases and disappointment."

And overconsumption isn't just bad for our well-being – it's terrible for the planet. Wealthy countries like the U.S. and Canada already consume so many resources that, if the rest of the world were to consume them at the same rate, we would need at least five Earths to sustain them.

Because of this, several groups are looking to restrict where advertisements can exist. Many states have imposed some restrictions, but only four have banned billboards entirely. Instead, one of the most effective ways to counteract rampant advertisements is to avoid falling victim to their messages and instead choosing to shop circular brands and recycle.

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