Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Traffic Lights, Here, Every Color Means "GO"

(image credit, wikipedia)

If you haven't lived in Baltimore for a long time, you might not realize how most drivers take to the colors of the traffic lights and their meanings. In most places, Red means STOP, Yellow means SLOW DOWN, and Green means GO. Hold it right there feller! Baltimore isn't the real world, if you didn't know. Here, every color means "GO"!

Even after living here for as long as I have, I am still surprised at how brazen some drivers can be when it comes to traffic lights. Sure, you can sympathize with the going through the light on yellow. We all know how difficult (and sometimes unsafe) to come to a screeching halt while going the speed limit to stop when it turns red. Blowing throw the stone cold red light is another thing.

What would be a simple trek across the street with the friendly white Walk Man in most places becomes a dangerously realistic version of George Costanza pushing the Frogger arcade across the street. The unwritten rule for pedestrians here seems to be, wait for the green, wait a couple seconds, and pray a Hail Mary while you cross to the other side. Who knows when the next cell phone yielding driver is going to come screaming through the light.

What should the city do? In addition to the red light cameras, maybe some traffic officers should stand by some intersections and take down license plate numbers, maybe a PSA on the news, or better yet, just add signs at some intersections that say "RED MEANS STOP" or "THE TOP LIGHT MEANS STOP", in case you're color blind.

If you're a pedestrian, just keep your eyes open and your ears tuned when you prepare to cross the street, and hope you remembered to pay your insurance coverage.

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