Power out, stop lights out, IDIOTS out

So we lost power after some particularly fierce thunderstorms late last week, happens on occasion. As a result many local stop lights were not working, not even blinking. Now when I was 16 I read the drivers manual which states in no uncertain terms that when approaching an intersection were the stop lights are not working you basically treat it like a stop sign…meaning you stop, wait for it to be clear, then go. Instead of heeding this common sense advice the people around here like to pretend its a free-for-all. They wait for one brave sole to work their way across the intersection then surge like a river breaching a levy without stopping, slowing down, or even looking. WTF is wrong with these people? And if you dare to try and cross the intersection you get a look and probably a loud horn indicating their disapproval. Is it like this everywhere or are the people living in the greater Philadelphia area just too stupid to drive?

Here in Houston it goes fairly smoothly, except at large many-laned intersections with left turns. The left turn people have to bully their way thru, because nobody will let them have their turn.

That part I can understand since at a large intersection its hard to take turns with all the variables. Makes it even tougher when people just refuse to stop and barrel right through the intersection without a second thought.

It happens from time to time here; the more common seasonal moronitude is all the people who forget that snow is slippery.

Happens here on occasion, and sometimes the traffic actually flows even better without the stop lights!

People stop, take note of the pattern that’s been adopted, wait for their turn, and go. Very, very seldom does some jerk try to cut in. Must be a Canadian thing. :wink:

This happened when I was on the way home last night, and the traffic at the intersection was behaving well and moving smoothly, but somewhere behind me some idiot kept laying on their horn every 20 seconds or so, as if there was something anybody could do about it. You could easily see what the holdup was about, traffic was slow, but not stopped dead, there was only one lane in each direction, and this knucklehead wouldn’t stop honking their horn! What the hell do people hope to accomplish with this?

Whenever I see traffic lights out, it’s always complete chaos for maybe ten minutes, and then slowly works its way down into an orderly four-way stop. Bongmaster, how long after the blackout did you see this?

In the DC suburbs, the traffic guy on the radio always says to treat lights out like a 4-way stop. Nobody ever does. Everybody tries to tail the car in front through the intersection, and a stream follows until someone with a conscience (or too scared to go) stops, letting the cross-street go, which creates its own stream, and so on.

This is bad enough at smaller intersections but gets very complicated at a street with left turn lanes in both cross streets, even if people are trying to treat it as a 4-way stop. AFAIK there is no such thing as a 4-way stop with left turn lanes so people are just at a loss for protocol.

This was the following morning after the lights being out all night. We had quite a storm, knocked out power all around for almost a week.

The rule is so simple…treat the intersection like a stop sign. It gets confusing at times but when I see two, three, four people all go sailing through a light that’s out it really burns my biscuit.

Y’see, Bongmaster, the problem is not with them, it is with you.

YOU are one of only 116 people that have actuallt read the driver’s handbook and therefore know what the actual procedure is. Furthermore, you are one of a huge minority of these who actually CARE what the law says.

Good on ye, but I see no hope for a nice resolution to the problem.

Interesting - there’ve been quite a few of these around L.A. lately and everyone seems to be doing fine with it. (though it slows down the already overcongested traffic to a snail’s crawl)

We got plenty of this after the hurricanes last year. Sometimes you’d get the “levee breaking” thing like Bongmaster said (I like that analogy). Sometimes it would work well, everyone coöperating and treating it like the four-way stop it should be. And actually, for a lot of the smaller intersections on big roads, the four-way stop seemed to keep traffic flowing smoother. I’m sure it was a bitch for pedestrians, though, trying to cross six lanes of traffic without any controls.

Thank you. I took my driver’s test aeons ago, but clearly remember the “treat it like a 4-way stop” thingie. No one else apparently remembers the same thing. It happens here in NJ, too.


Even if you forget the drivers manual you would think people might fall back to common sense but that’s just too much to ask of the general public.