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I like traffic lights, no matter where they've been - The online computery journal thingy of a turtle

Jan. 29th, 2007

07:44 pm - I like traffic lights, no matter where they've been

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Here's something weird I encounter every now and then: people who don't understand horizontal traffic lights. They're used to traffic lights arranged vertically, but then one day they encounter them arranged horizontally, and they say, "That doesn't make sense! Doesn't that confuse color-blind people?"

No, it doesn't. Just as the red light is always on top on vertical lights, the red light is always on the left on horizontal lights. How do people not know this?

Current Mood: confusedconfused
Current Music: ...but only when they're green

Comments:

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From:ronald_mack
Date:January 30th, 2007 02:24 am (UTC)
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Plus, people seem to assume that colour blind people see in greyscale, which of course they don't.
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From:shelbystripes
Date:January 30th, 2007 04:30 am (UTC)
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Actually, I didn't know that, either! I never had to learn, since I'm not color-blind.
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From:qaianna
Date:January 30th, 2007 04:49 am (UTC)
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Think it's just inexperience. Most folks are used to the vertical bar of lights, after all. I still remember the horizontal ones that were up in Omaha when I was living there, tho.

Another way lights get you is when they're mounted only on corner posts, instead of overhead--that's how a lot of them were over here years ago, when I was a kit (cue crotchety voice), but now for the most part they're all overhead-mounted somehow. Still kind'a miss the corner-post ones, tho.
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From:orv
Date:January 30th, 2007 08:35 am (UTC)
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I like when they have a corner post signal head to supplement the overhead one. Often when a big truck blocks the view of the overhead one you can still see the corner one.
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From:chakawolf
Date:January 30th, 2007 06:22 am (UTC)
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The thing that worries me is the turn arrows. They used to be green or off. Now, with the advent of LED technology, the arrow turns from green to red in the same location! What are color blind people supposed to make of that?
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:January 30th, 2007 06:57 am (UTC)
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Haven't seen that.
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From:thecanuckguy
Date:January 30th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC)
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They have a few here (Actually, some have 4 lights (from top to bottom (no horizontals in MB) red, yellow, green and green or yellow arrow), some have 5 (green and yellow arrow separated), some are standard lights with ANOTHER set of lights posted on the median visible for people making left turns that have arrows for turning people only, operating independently from the solid colour lights (of red, yellow, and green arrow). And, to make it even more confusing, there are also lights with a completely unique signal I haven't seen anywhere else at the top, the light, when lit, remains black, except for a thing vertical bar of white across the light. "How are you supposed to see that?", the answer is, you aren't supposed to. It's a transit priority signal, to give the bus a 10 minute head start (when cross-traffic has a yellow) to get into the lane lest it be bogged down. This can be seen in the online Manitoba Driver's Handbook, page 31 of the PDF file found here.)

And you thought Texas was confusing? (Try reading the rest of the manual! You'll know why I still dont' have my driver's license, and I turn 35 in a few months!)
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From:orv
Date:January 30th, 2007 08:34 am (UTC)
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I haven't seen that before. All the ones around here, even the LED ones, use one lens for each color.

Railroads used to commonly use signals with one lens that changed color. They had an internal filter wheel. Presumably they didn't have color-blind engineers. Some are phasing them out in favor of three-lens, traffic light style signals because the fewer moving parts make them more reliable.
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From:yakko
Date:January 30th, 2007 08:50 am (UTC)
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the red light is always on the left on horizontal lights

In Japan, it is not. Authoritative anime seems to agree. Or vice-versa.
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From:deckardcanine
Date:January 30th, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC)
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I seem to recall that they write from right to left, too. Maybe Israel has the green light on the left.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:January 30th, 2007 09:27 am (UTC)
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How about different speed limits at night? Or stack interchanges? Or U-turn lanes under overpasses?

Or how about kolaches?
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:January 30th, 2007 11:54 pm (UTC)

Re: Although my name's not Bamber

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Simple mnemonic: You know how we read from left to right, and from top to bottom? Pretend the lights are text. They should read "red yellow green" in that order, regardless of whether they're horizontal or vertical.

Red
Yellow
Green

Red Yellow Green
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From:zorinlynx
Date:January 30th, 2007 01:25 pm (UTC)
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Around here (Miami, Fla) nearly all lights are the horizontal variety. It must be a regional thing.

This is the first time I've ever heard anyone complain about this bring a problem. :)

-Z
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From:logan_pendan
Date:January 30th, 2007 04:25 pm (UTC)
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Wow. Vertical lights? Where? Only vertical lights I'm used to are turn signals.
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From:pippinbear
Date:January 30th, 2007 07:04 pm (UTC)
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I don't think we have horizontal ones over here in the UK. All our traffic lights are arranged vertically with the red one at the top. Also, UK lights always have a black backing-board which makes the lights stand out better. In France, I've seen lights without that board, where the lights are just held in their vertical pattern by brackets, without the board tying the whole thing together and making it look like a single unit. The one I remember had the lights fixed to the side of a building just beside the road junction. It was most weird - without the usual board and pole, I didn't even recognise them as traffic lights for a few moments!
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