Archive for the ‘City’ Category

Traffic Light Outtage and You

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

When a traffic light goes on the blink it’s a great illustration of how the average driver on the road today has no idea about the rules of the road. It just goes to show how poor our licensing programs truly are.

When you approach a traffic light that is blinking red at you, you treat it like a stop sign. When you approach a blinking yellow light you proceed with caution. You do NOT treat a flashing yellow light as a stop sign! If you approach a traffic light that is completely out with no lights at all, you treat it as a stop sign (likely a 4-way stop).

Generally, when a traffic light goes on the blink at an intersection, the primary route (most traffic flow) will flash yellow and the secondary route will flash red. When people treat the yellow flashing as a stop they mess up the natural flow and create gridlock. But it also creates a dangerous situation, too. When a person stops at a yellow and lets a car at the red go, the cars behind that car assume everybody has a red flashing light. So when the next car approaching the yellow proceeds through, the red side now thinks they’ll stop and creates a potential for collision.

Living in the worst traffic city in the US, I can tell you that when people don’t obey the laws during these times, it just creates total gridlock and chaos.

One thing that I’ve often wondered in these situations is why, if there’s enough power to flash the lights, can’t they just reset and function normally? Heck, even all of my home computers have power backup and continue to function normally, and there aren’t any lives at stake there.

Is It So Hard to Signal?

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Why is it that so many people have such a hard time signaling other drivers their intentions? Is it because their left hand is too busy supporting the cell phone to mess with those silly levers, or just total lack of respect?

Every day when I leave my office I have to start out at a traffic light that has another office complex on the other side. It takes 2.5 minutes for the light to finally turn green (time it sometime – extremely long for a light) and there are no left arrows. Both sides have traffic that only goes left or straight (the right turns have their own lane that merges). Since the light has two office complexes facing each other, very few people actually go straight, but every once in a while somebody will, so you have to assume they are if there’s no signal. Once the light turns green, it doesn’t stay green for very long, so if people don’t step up you end up facing yet another 2.5 minutes of wasted life.

Since I spend so much time sitting at this particular light waiting for it to finally turn green, I have a little extra time for observation. It’s my estimation that a full 20% of the drivers opposing each other refuse to use their signals to indicate they’re turning left even though they do turn left. The real rub is that since you can’t assume the person is going left, people have to cautiously pull forward until they know the oncoming traffic isn’t going straight. So as a result of all the inconsiderate drivers who don’t signal, I occasionally get to lose another 2.5 minutes of my life because they couldn’t bother to signal and allow traffic to flow on through quickly enough. Thanks, a lot. Really, it’s so nice to have the extra time to reflect on the kindness of the world.