When "road safety" bullshit makes the road LESS safe

I just drove from Meat Cove, Nova Scotia - the absolute northernmost point of the provice - to Antigonish, about a 5-hour drive, at night. For about 90% of the trip, I was almost completely alone on the road, only passing a handful of other cars.

As I approach Antigonish, it starts to rain. Then I come upon road construction. One lane of the road is closed for construction and there are flaggers on each end taking turns waving the incoming traffic through. OK. Simple enough. But then a truck pulls in front of the line with a sign reading “FOLLOW ME - DO NOT PASS” and a blindingly-bright, rapidly flashing yellow beacon that induces an optical migraine, reflects off the wet road and all surrounding surfaces, and makes it IMPOSSIBLE TO SEE. I almost sideswiped a semi truck as I passed the other end of the construction because I was literally blinded by the fucking beacon.

Fuck this bullshit! Far from making it safer, it’s a fatal accident waiting to happen.

Damn. I used to work on road safety issues, and although I myself am not an expert, I’ve learned from the best. I was fully prepared to come into this thread and say something like, “no, you are missing the point - it’s safer because yadda yadda yadda.”

But no. What you describe sounds AWFUL.

Yes it was truly awful. And I am not easily rattled. But when I say this beacon was rapidly blinking, I don’t mean like it was blinking the way, say, a blinking red stoplight is blinking - I mean it was like a strobe light at a rave. It was totally blinding and disorienting and the exact opposite of safe.

Those new super duper headlights, whatever they are, that look like they’re on high beam all the time. A bitch when they approach you on a dark country road, completely blinding.

Or when you are just edging over the top of a hill, the flatter the slope the worse, as they can directly hit your eyeballs for several hundred feet.

Oh yes. I completely agree. I drive dark isolated mountain roads in the dark. And the snowplows cause this problem as well. Their flashing warning lights are really, really bright. I thought maybe it was just me.

Are they using LED’s now or something. It’s a real problem.

It’s a problem on the road construction warning trucks as well. Often, very early in the morning, they will have a truck with warning lights on it to block a lane while a loader moves piled up snow (making room for more snow for plow trucks). Those are generally 4 big flashing squares. Causes complete night blindness.

I work in the safety industry (although my role is administrative, not technical) and we see many cases of features designed to improve safety that actually make things worse. It’s a tricky business sometimes.

My area has been installing merging lanes and round-a-bouts, which are great, if you know how to use them.

Unfortunate, since nobody seems to, and chaos ensues. Fucking idiots.

Yes. Like super bright flashing warning lights in very dark areas. I’m sure someone thought brighter meant better visibility. Or perhaps they didn’t think at all and just installed LED’s. It’s dangerous. I’ve been trying to think who to contact about it. I work for County Government, so I’ll talk to Road and Bridge. Though it’s the State (CDOT) that are the offenders.

Come to think of it, I just noticed the phenomenon to that extreme a few months ago when I drove up north. Before, in construction areas during the night they’d indeed have massive lights, floodlights even, in order to work, but this time they must have put the entire county sheriffs department with all their blingy blue and red lights to add to the floodlight fiesta. I had to slow down to even slower than the recommended speed in order just to be able to see far enough in front of me to drive. Thankfully in all the places I encountered this either no one was behind me or they also slowed down with me without tailgating.

I’m sorry you had to with that shit, but thank you for informing me that there is a town called Meat Cove. It is inn the same pantheon as Intercourse and Sugartit.

In the fire service that is something that we are trained to be aware of and blinding lights are not only distractions but also cause accidents. But that is recent and the old timers turn them all on and (where available) on the brightest. The recommendation is one visible flashing emergency light vehicle with just some of the lights on and others with parking lights only once on scene, but also adaptable with road conditions such as you may need 2 or more to be seen properly over a road stretch and both directions where applicable.

Also as noted above, getting stuck behind our county plow is maddening due to the lights they use.

Don’t forget Neversink, NY

And Dildo, Newfoundland.

I’m told there’s a road sign on the way out of Climax, Saskatchewan, encouraging you to come again. :slight_smile:

Town is too small to appear on Wikipedia… Maybe it’s too small to even be a town anymore.

I don’t know whether similarly named towns have similar signs. :slight_smile:

I remembered another incident.

My Wife was finishing the full marathon portion of and IronMan race. They always have ambulances at the finish in case. Well in this particular race, these morons welcomed the runners by having all there lights flashing. My Wife, now blinded, tripped in a pot hole and broke two fingers.

Well, at least the ambulances where right there…

Highway patrol cars seem to cause this same issue. Lights so bright that the only thing you can say for certain is that there is a highway patrol car, not whether they are in your lane or what may be happening, just “Yep, looks like there’s a car there and it sure is bright!”

I took a job not too long ago teaching adult driver education. At my school, we teach to stay well back from emergency and construction vehicles and not to look directly into oncoming lights or emergency vehicle lights. Those blue ones on police vehicles are especially hard on the eyes at night or in rain. If you are having trouble seeing, you can always look at the fog line and follow it, at least far enough to pull over safely.

That’s almost happened to me as well. I started a 40-mile+ run around Canandaigua Lake in the winter around 5 am (by myself so there were cars on the road.)

Invariably when vehicles were headed my way they turned on their brights – what, now that you saw me you think that there’s someone else dressed in black sneaking behind me about to jump out into the road in front of your truck? It forced me to slow down, and look down, to make sure I didn’t stumble on any cracks / outright holes in the shoulder.

One town over they had the idea that if you remove all the stop signs so that you have completely uncontrolled 4 way intersections that people will actually drive safer. And it only took a dozen or so terrible accidents for it to start sinking in (not to mention that people from out of town are unaware of your cockamamie experiment and are shocked to see someone fly through the intersection at 30 miles and hour right in front of them barely avoiding serious injury).