1116: "Traffic Lights"

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Red Hal » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:38 am UTC

Yeah, whereas in the U.K. they are simple and easy to use:

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby rbnielsen » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:45 am UTC

Is it just me, or does it resemble a Turing Machine?

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby wolf99 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:55 am UTC

I see your hook turns, Michigan lefts and comments on roundabouts being better, and raise you Swindon's (UK) magic roundabout in all it's insane glory. The roundabout of roundabouts, literally.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Roundabout_(Swindon) and http://goo.gl/maps/XUr4k

This is not the only one in the UK either, Hemel Hempsted, Colchester, Southend-on-Sea, Denham and Hatton Cross all boast similar bouts of ludicrousness.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby carolineee » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:22 am UTC

Quicksilver wrote:Alt Text:"There's an intersection I drive through sometimes that has a forward green arrow, a red light, and a 'no turns' sign all on one pole. I honestly have no idea what it's telling me to do."

In Germany, this would depend on the style of the green arrow. Is it a light signal or a sign? If it's a sign then it means: "If you want to go straight, ignore the trafficlight and proceed as if there were a yield sign." If it ist a light signal then that means: "Red signal for everybody else, but green for those going straight, plus those people following the arrow have the right of way."

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Carteeg_Struve » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:57 am UTC

The "no left turn, no right turn, no going forward" sign says it all best. Your only other option is turn immediately back-up and go home.

...

Or to blow up the post.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby The_Schwartz » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:28 pm UTC

One of my biggest complaints ever is the traffic signals in the suburban Boston area (not the mention the condition of the roads, other drivers, etc.). The worst are the protected turns that aren't indicated, i.e. you see a regular green, but the opposing traffic has red so that you can turn freely, but you have no indication of that… or when the opposing traffic gets a green and your protected turn becomes a yielded turn; IIRC, this is the intersection that always infuriated me.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Mutex » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:52 pm UTC

wolf99 wrote:I see your hook turns, Michigan lefts and comments on roundabouts being better, and raise you Swindon's (UK) magic roundabout in all it's insane glory. The roundabout of roundabouts, literally.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Roundabout_(Swindon) and http://goo.gl/maps/XUr4k

This is not the only one in the UK either, Hemel Hempsted, Colchester, Southend-on-Sea, Denham and Hatton Cross all boast similar bouts of ludicrousness.


I remember being in my house mate's car as he drove through that when I lived in Swindon. I felt like crying, I had NO idea what was going on. I had a strange sensation I was being crushed between the cogs of an enormous machine.

Now that I've studied it from that map, I can see how it works. I'm pretty sure just a big, single roundabout would make more sense though.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby dp2 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:56 pm UTC

mochafairy wrote:This reminds me of the lights we have around here for Michigan lefts, which is a seriously messed up traffic design. Just put in a roundabout/traffic circle. And then all the stop light problems are fixed!

NO!

I have no problem with roundabouts where appropriate. But Michigan lefts are usually used for turning left on to a 45+ MPH road or highway with three or more lanes each way. Not appropriate for roundabouts.

I'm not sure what you mean about the traffic lights. It's usually a just regular light with no left turn.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Felis cattus diabolicus » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:15 pm UTC

Image

It reminded me about the green arrow light issue right before the Euro 2012.

It was because in Poland it is obligatory to stop and yield the pedestrians and other cars before such a light. Very few drivers do so, though.
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Suralin » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:26 pm UTC

I'm not sure how roundabouts could possibly be better than intersections. I despise the roundabouts here in DC and I swear it doesn't help traffic much at all, especially with bad drivers.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby dp2 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:37 pm UTC

Suralin wrote:I'm not sure how roundabouts could possibly be better than intersections. I despise the roundabouts here in DC and I swear it doesn't help traffic much at all, especially with bad drivers.

Most of these weird constructions are designed to avoid cutting across oncoming traffic. They're less about traffic flow and more about safety. While you'll occasionally get a smashup in a roundabout, it's usually at much lower speeds and thus less deadly.

Also, pedestrians only need to focus on one direction instead of four.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby AeroJonesy » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:46 pm UTC

My guess was that Randall was referencing the intersection of Brookline Avenue and Park St. Brookline Avenue splits into a Y and intersects Park St perpendicularly. You can't turn left or right on Park St, and the stoplight has a left arrow (to go down the left split), a right arrow (to go down the right split), and a red light.

Google maps link

(As an annoyed Boston driver, I registered just to post this).

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby alpha754293 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:48 pm UTC

mochafairy wrote:This reminds me of the lights we have around here for Michigan lefts, which is a seriously messed up traffic design. Just put in a roundabout/traffic circle. And then all the stop light problems are fixed!


Michigan lefts seem really dumb for people OUTSIDE of Michigan, but if you've ever really spent a great deal of time here and been to other really seriously high traffic areas (like in Toronto for example, even close to the outskirts of Toronto) - then Michigan left/Michigan Ewies make a LOT of sense. And for what it's designed purpose - it DOES work. The hardest part is actually trying to figure out which intersections is going to have a Michigan left/Mighican Ewie so that you can get in the proper lane to prepare to take the left. But other than that, there are probably a LOT of places that can make seriously good use of them.

Biggest downside - it takes a LOT more space than a regular intersection.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Red Hal » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:49 pm UTC

Roundabouts are better for traffic flow than four-way stops except under very light traffic conditions. Traffic circles and spiral roundabouts are abominations from the abyss. Oddly enough a mini-roundabout works pretty well as a four-way stop, but with slightly improved characteristics under heavier traffic.
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Diadem » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:50 pm UTC

Personally, I hate roundabouts. But the traffic planners here in The Netherlands so love them. 20 years ago we hardly had any, but since then they've become in fashion, and now they are all over the place. Often you'll drive a perfectly straight main road, with 5 roundabouts in 2 kilometres, all connecting minor roads that hardly see any traffic. I think actually the main reason they build roundabouts is because it obstructs traffic flow. They want to slow traffic down, and speed limits aren't a good way since they are ignored by most motorists.

Traffic signs here are generally very good though. They have to be, we are one of the most densely populated countries in the world. A lot of time and effort is put into getting traffic signs right.

wolf99 wrote:I see your hook turns, Michigan lefts and comments on roundabouts being better, and raise you Swindon's (UK) magic roundabout in all it's insane glory.

I see all those, and raise you... Belgium.

Seriously, when it comes to bad traffic signs, Belgium is the absolute winner. Half their traffic signs are missing, most of the others are wrong. The few traffic signs that do contain useful information are usually hidden behind trees, or other traffic signs. I once drove through an intersection where I first waited for 10 minutes with no a single car passing the intersection in all that time, all traffic lights apparently being red for all directions, and then everyone started driving at once from all directions in all directions. Pure madness.
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby AvatarIII » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:50 pm UTC

dp2 wrote:
mochafairy wrote:This reminds me of the lights we have around here for Michigan lefts, which is a seriously messed up traffic design. Just put in a roundabout/traffic circle. And then all the stop light problems are fixed!

NO!

I have no problem with roundabouts where appropriate. But Michigan lefts are usually used for turning left on to a 45+ MPH road or highway with three or more lanes each way. Not appropriate for roundabouts.

I'm not sure what you mean about the traffic lights. It's usually a just regular light with no left turn.


I will agree that this is true, however, only for a single level interchange. If you add a second level, using round-abouts does make sense
The most common type of interchange in the UK and Ireland is the dumbbell interchange, and it works, which is why it's pretty much ubiquitous.
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby J Thomas » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:54 pm UTC

Suralin wrote:I'm not sure how roundabouts could possibly be better than intersections. I despise the roundabouts here in DC and I swear it doesn't help traffic much at all, especially with bad drivers.


No traffic system works with bad drivers. Not following the system is what makes them bad drivers.

Sometimes I think it might be good to have a traffic system that's set up to encourage bad drivers to have big accidents with other bad drivers. A bit of built-in quality control. But it would be mean.

Roundabouts are simpler than traffic lights. There are no moving parts except the automobiles. Nobody ever has to stop and wait for a red light while there is no one moving in the other lanes, you only have to wait when there is too much traffic. It uses more land than traffic signals, though. People who want to turn across traffic (left in the USA) drive extra distance instead of waiting for the light.

But nothing works with drivers who don't know how. I've seen more ex-roundabouts in the USA than roundabouts. They cut a straight path through the center for the road that gets more traffic, and then some complicated combination of stoplights, and it winds up worse than it would have been as a plain intersection.
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby alpha754293 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:55 pm UTC

This is why we make fun of civil engineers and call them the OTHER imaginary engineers. (People that pretend to engineer stuff...) (the first imaginary engineer are industrial engineers, because they're literally IE.)

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Red Hal » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:11 pm UTC

@alpha754293 That's not very civil!

@Diadem Roundabouts work very well indeed for their intended purpose; managing traffic flow safely. If you approach them with the mindset that they are delaying your journey you are taking too narrow a view of them.
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Sprocket » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:14 pm UTC

This makes me think of the intersection leaving Harvard Square where Cambridge Street joins Mass ave.
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby dp2 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:21 pm UTC

AvatarIII wrote:
dp2 wrote:
mochafairy wrote:This reminds me of the lights we have around here for Michigan lefts, which is a seriously messed up traffic design. Just put in a roundabout/traffic circle. And then all the stop light problems are fixed!

NO!

I have no problem with roundabouts where appropriate. But Michigan lefts are usually used for turning left on to a 45+ MPH road or highway with three or more lanes each way. Not appropriate for roundabouts.

I'm not sure what you mean about the traffic lights. It's usually a just regular light with no left turn.


I will agree that this is true, however, only for a single level interchange. If you add a second level, using round-abouts does make sense
The most common type of interchange in the UK and Ireland is the dumbbell interchange, and it works, which is why it's pretty much ubiquitous.
Image

Yeah, we don't have those. I think they could be put to good use in Michigan, where there may be six to eight ramps on and off I-75 to a major road.

Edit: oh, actually, we do.
Last edited by dp2 on Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:02 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Apeiron » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:23 pm UTC

I like traffic lights
I like traffic lights
I like traffic lights
but only when they're green

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby butch81385 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:25 pm UTC

ConMan wrote:
mochafairy wrote:This reminds me of the lights we have around here for Michigan lefts, which is a seriously messed up traffic design. Just put in a roundabout/traffic circle. And then all the stop light problems are fixed!

I'll see your Michigan left and raise you a hook turn, whereby to turn right (in a country where they drive on the left-hand side of the road), you move into the left-hand lane, then when the light turns you pull out into the intersection and sit in front of the lane going straight in the direction you want to go, and wait until the light in that direction turns green.


I see your michigan left and your hook tern, and raise you Pittsburgh's West End Bridge/ "West End Circle"...
https://maps.google.ie/maps?saddr=West+ ... sz=18&z=18

Instead of making a left turn off of the bridge, you make a right turn, then a left turn, then make the second left, then make a left, then merge left, then merge right. And this is the "new and improved" version that they rebuilt a few years back...

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby suso » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:34 pm UTC

Posted a command to climagic to break down the frames if you want:

https://twitter.com/climagic/status/253499802539675650
Imagine theres no signatures....

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby CanadianNomad » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:46 pm UTC

I'm in latin america right now, and there is an overabundance of traffic lights that are immediately above the stop line.
As you can imagine cars (and esp motorcycles) will honk and try to get past you if you don't go up to the line. So from there you have to crank your head to maybe be able to see when the light changes. Since you can't actually see the light you end up having to rely on a wish and a prayer and the honking of the cars behind you to know that you should be moving again... Naturally there is usually a cop nearby to make sure you don't run a red... He needs his lunch money too, you know.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby WhiteDragon » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:47 pm UTC

http://xkcd.com/207/ has the answer.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby AvatarIII » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:51 pm UTC

CanadianNomad wrote:I'm in latin america right now, and there is an overabundance of traffic lights that are immediately above the stop line.
As you can imagine cars (and esp motorcycles) will honk and try to get past you if you don't go up to the line. So from there you have to crank your head to maybe be able to see when the light changes. Since you can't actually see the light you end up having to rely on a wish and a prayer and the honking of the cars behind you to know that you should be moving again... Naturally there is usually a cop nearby to make sure you don't run a red... He needs his lunch money too, you know.



you know, there's no reason to pull up all the way to the line, just because it's there.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby dp2 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:57 pm UTC

AvatarIII wrote:
CanadianNomad wrote:I'm in latin america right now, and there is an overabundance of traffic lights that are immediately above the stop line.
As you can imagine cars (and esp motorcycles) will honk and try to get past you if you don't go up to the line. So from there you have to crank your head to maybe be able to see when the light changes. Since you can't actually see the light you end up having to rely on a wish and a prayer and the honking of the cars behind you to know that you should be moving again... Naturally there is usually a cop nearby to make sure you don't run a red... He needs his lunch money too, you know.



you know, there's no reason to pull up all the way to the line, just because it's there.

There are some intersections with monitors that watch for traffic at the line before bothering to turn the light. I don't know how prevalent those are.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby Jonadan » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:07 pm UTC

Suralin wrote:I'm not sure how roundabouts could possibly be better than intersections. I despise the roundabouts here in DC and I swear it doesn't help traffic much at all, especially with bad drivers.


That's because DC street plans are a mess to begin with and then they put traffic lights on the roundabouts. The worst is probably the Thomas Circle at 14th and Massachusetts.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby ctdonath » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:08 pm UTC

Sifle wrote:I also live nearby an upside-down traffic light, where white- I mean green is at the top, and red is at the bottom.

You're in/around Syracuse NY?

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby neoliminal » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:10 pm UTC

A roundabout in Michigan (where I lived for years) would be insanity given the amount of snow.

Pure, white insanity.
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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby DanD » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:13 pm UTC

Does it bug anyone else that the "off lights" are all red-green-yellow even for the ones where the on-lights are non-standard (at least the all red one on the right)?

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby dp2 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:20 pm UTC

neoliminal wrote:A roundabout in Michigan (where I lived for years) would be insanity given the amount of snow.

Pure, white insanity.

Yet we have them, in the Detroit area, anyway.

Here's a shopping center in Brighton with five.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby orrinjelo » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:31 pm UTC

Shel Silverstein once wrote:

If the light is green, you go
If the light is red, you stop
But what do you do
If the light turns blue
With orange and lavender spots?

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby darkwombat » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:48 pm UTC

My problem with roundabouts is that they require a level of trust in the competency of all other drivers approaching the roundabout which I will never have and which I feel would be entirely unwarranted for anyone to have. I drive with a mindset as if every other driver on the road is a homicidal one-eyed drunken psychopath who is watching TV while driving with their feet. You'd be surprised (or not) how often this outlook has saved me from being involved in an accident.

In 2 decades of driving, I've never been in an accident that was my fault. I've been in quite a few accidents, though, including one that turned my station wagon into a sub-compact and left me with permanent damage to my neck. That one was from somebody who saw my vehicle fully stopped in front of him at a stop sign, in broad daylight, and never touched the brakes on his 70+MPH truck because he was zoned out on benadryl.

People like this exist. I simply cannot trust that they understand how to navigate a round-about. They NEED signs and lights. Really. Fuck traffic flow. I want to live.

(edited for typos)
Last edited by darkwombat on Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:55 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby drakvl » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:54 pm UTC

The strip kind of reminded me of the fire marble puzzle from Riven.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby dp2 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:00 pm UTC

darkwombat wrote:My problem with roundabouts is that they require a level of trust in the competency of all other drivers approaching the roundabout which I will never have and which I feel would be entirely unwarranted for anyone to have. I drive with a mindset as if every other driver on the road is a homocidal one-eyed drunken psychopath who is watching TV while driving with their feet. You'd be surprised (or not) how often this outlook has saved me from being involved in an accident.

In 3 decades of driving, I've never been in an accident that was my fault. I've been in quite a few accidents, though, including one that turned my station wagon into a sub-compact and left me with permanent damage to my neck. That one was from somebody who saw my vehicle fully stopped in front of him at a stop sign, in broad daylight, and never touched the brakes on his 70+MPH truck because he was zoned out on benadryl.

People like this exist. I simply cannot trust that they understand how to navigate a round-about. They NEED signs and lights. Really. Fuck traffic flow. I want to live.

Sounds like you're going to have trouble whether or not there are roundabouts. Evidently, signs and lights are not solving the problem.

You say you want to live. You WILL be more likely to live if some dope doesn't look before pulling into a roundabout in front of you, since you'll be going slower. If the same guy turns right in front of you as you're going 45 through a green light, you won't have nearly as good a chance.

Or take your truck example:
Stop sign at an intersection - hit from behind at 70 MPH, risk of being t-boned by full speed traffic on a straightaway
Yield sign at a roundabout - hit from behind at 70 MPH, risk of being sideswiped by reduced speed traffic in the roundabout

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby da Doctah » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:11 pm UTC

The newest thing they're testing here in Phoenix is flashing yellow left-turn arrows. That wasn't covered when I got my license, so I'm going to have to interpret it as a transmission from the mothership.

Red light: stop.
Green light: go.
Yellow light: go, very fast.
Flashing blue light: you're driving through a K-Mart.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby darkwombat » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:14 pm UTC

Sounds like you're going to have trouble whether or not there are roundabouts. Evidently, signs and lights are not solving the problem.

You say you want to live. You WILL be more likely to live if some dope doesn't look before pulling into a roundabout in front of you, since you'll be going slower. If the same guy turns right in front of you as you're going 45 through a green light, you won't have nearly as good a chance.

Or take your truck example:
Stop sign at an intersection - hit from behind at 70 MPH, risk of being t-boned by full speed traffic on a straightaway
Yield sign at a roundabout - hit from behind at 70 MPH, risk of being sideswiped by reduced speed traffic in the roundabout


You make a fair point and I'll agree that probably the percentage risk of a fatal accident is less at a roundabout. However I maintain that despite my benadryl guy example, most bad drivers are more likely to successfully navigate a "you have to stop. ok now you can go" stoplight intersection than a "yield to oncoming traffic and get out there when you think it is a good idea" roundabout, and so I feel (rightly or wrongly) at much higher risk when navigating round-abouts. I'm curious what motorcyclists think about them, as even a lower speed accident could be pretty serious for someone not in a steel cage.

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Re: 1116: "Traffic Lights"

Postby ebow » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:19 pm UTC

"There's an intersection I drive through sometimes that has a forward green arrow, a red light, and a 'no turns' sign all on one pole. I honestly have no idea what it's telling me to do."


I know Randall lives in the Boston area, so I wonder if he's talking about some of the lights along Route 16 in the Everett / Revere / Chelsea area. I'm sure there are plenty of other streets around the area with that configuration, but it gets my goat every time I drive that road. And don't get me started on flashing green lights in Salem and elsewhere...


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