Slow-Thinking Drivers To Get More Time With Longer Yellow Lights

A careful driver approaches an intersection and the green light turns yellow. Red is next. What does the driver do? Hit the brakes, or floor it and hope for the best? It’s a split-second call. Soon, Florida drivers will have more time to make that decision as the sunshine state lengthens the time before yellow turns red.

Research indicates that we make up our minds in about a second and that lengthening yellow light time will prevent more drivers from running red lights. Called the perception/reaction time, the state hopes to make that an easier decision with more yellow light time.

But let’s think about this. You are driving along, approaching an intersection and the light turns yellow. If you know the light will remain yellow longer, will you stop?

You probably should, at least in Florida. While aimed to address the concerns of red light fine critics, each citation brings a fine of $158 and adds up to big money for local cities who split the fine with the state.”We don’t play around with the times,” said Jay Davoll, city engineer for Apopka, Florida, in an Orlando Sentinel report. “But people say we do.” A suburb of Orlando, the city of Apopka alone has collected about $2 million in red-light fines so far this year.

Town Gets Rid of Traffic Lights to Improve Traffic Safety

I live in a tiny no-stoplight town on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. The last time I was in Anchorage, Alaska (a town with hundreds of stoplights), I actually drove right through a red light, lost in my own oblivion. Now that I’m used to no stoplights, I find that driving in cities with them makes me crabby and impatient. I want to get where I’m going — and where I live now I don’t have to drive any more than 6 miles to do that.

The people in charge in Bohmte, Germany, think it might be a good idea to try the no-stoplight life as well. On September 12, all traffic controls disappeared from the center of the town, which sees about 13,500 cars a day. The idea was developed by Dutch traffic specialist Hans Monderman to try to reduce accidents and make life easier for pedestrians. Already, Monderman’s ideas have been implemented in the town of Drachten in the Netherlands, where all stop lights, traffic signs, pavements, and street markings have gone. Accidents in Drachten have been reduced significantly.

Half of the1.2 million euro cost of removing the lights in Bohmte will be covered by the European Union, which supports the endeavor.

[via Reuters]