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A few years ago, the Nat'l Transportation Safety Bureau
spent significant money on trying to educate drivers (they
probably still do) about the dangers of running red lights.
This is all well and good, but I firmly believe that all
know those dangers, and that the majority of (but,
of course) light runners (and subsequent accidents)
not because drivers try to beat the lights, but because
were just 'spaced out' and didn't 'see' the red light at all.
This has happened to me (a very few times, without
mishap, fortunately), I have seen people run red lights
without accelerating, decelerating, or even looking
In a couple of very memorable instances, I have seen light
runners become suddenly aware of their transgression,
a sudden shocked look on their faces, and even pull to
side of the road (after exiting the intersection),
to collect themselves, say a prayer of thanks, or
No amount of education will ever solve these
I propose to install stroboscopic warning lights above, or
near, the existing red/yellow/green lights. These strobe
lights would be activated by sensors which would be set
detect the excessive speed of a vehicle approaching a red
light (a certain speed at a certain distance from the
intersection: "This car is not likely to stop!").
The sensors would likely include both a radar transmitter
and a receiver, mounted, perhaps in the same enclosure,
on or near the traffic signal lights. They would look
similar to existing devices and use some of the same--or
The resulting strobe light would (hopefully) catch the
dreaming driver's attention in enough time for him/her to
apply the brakes. If it doesn't, at least other drivers,
seeing the strobe light flashing, would be made aware
someone is about to enter the area at an excessive
[squirrelecule, Sep 12 2010]
[squirrelecule, Sep 12 2010]
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||One word: natural selection.
||[MB] Are you suggesting that all the individuals who
might be killed (or rendering non-reproductive) by
day-dreaming drivers ought to be removed
from the gene pool?
||I was thinking more about selecting my own fate
(saving my bacon) here than about saving the DDDs.
||The roads are dangerous enough without epileptic seizures [-].
||//and even pull to the side of the road//
||These are people who believe that they owe society a stop, doesn't matter when. I was behind a guy yesterday who stopped at a sign warning of an upcoming stop sign, stopped at the sign itself, and then stopped on the other side of the intersection for good measure. I wanted to shoot him.
||Baked (see link). There is one at a busy intersection near my office. I imagined it was on top of a school bus the first time I saw it, a closer look showed it to be part of the stop signal.
||Ok, conceded [MFD]. However, the significant
difference in my idea is to get the attention of
dozing drivers *who are speeding and not likely to
||I read in Squirrelcule's first link that such lights are
now prohibited in some places. Seizures, I guess?
||I'm new to HB. Tough crowd. Funny, but tough....
||//why not just delay the green ?
||Because the day-dreaming drivers *are not noticing
the light,* whether it's red, green, or yellow. The
strobes are there to *get their attention*, which is
||If, instead of a red light, the 'stop' signal was a massive concrete wall that rose up out of the road, I'm sure more people would notice it.
||A wall is over the top, [hippo]. Spikes would suffice.
||I've seen stop signs with LEDs around the perimeter that blink when a vehicle approaches. I've also seen traffic lights with strobes included in the yellow and red portions.
||I like the addition of a speed sensor, but experience says that most drivers regularly exceed the posted limit by a certain socially-acceptable amount; the speed sensor would likely activate whenever traffic is not gummed up, and is therefore unnecessary. Just make the strobe activate at every light change.
||But that's already baked.
||[+] for a reasonable idea though.
||//most drivers regularly exceed the posted limit by
a certain socially-acceptable amount...
||That socially accepted amount is the amount that
the law usually ignores, too (strangely enough).
||When I suggested "excessive speed" I meant a speed
at which the oncoming, dopey-eyed driver would
not be likely to stop. (Actually, speed is almost
irrelevant if the driver is not likely to stop.)
||But, let's say that the lights start strobing if an
approaching car is going more than X mph, Y feet
from the intersection (these variables should be not
be hard to calculate, I'm just too tired and lazy to
||Ok, NOT similar. But, my sensors would likely
include both a radar transmitter and a receiver,
mounted, perhaps in the same enclosure, on or near
the traffic signal lights. They would LOOK similar to
existing devices and use some of the same--or similar-