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traffic light glitches

yesterday when i was coming home from work, one of the traffic lights i had to go through had a glitch that i had never seen before.

i'm not sure if it's primarily a sensor traffic light (it definitely has sensors in the road for the photo-enforced deal) or a timed thing because it's on a fairly major intersection, particularly during rush hour. traffic was backed up more than normal, so much that i considered going an alternate route, but the one alternate route i knew about had some major construction going on it that reduced three lanes to one, and i figured that would be worse. so i pulled into the traffic area where people were waiting for the light to turn.

it was about ten minutes later that i discovered why the traffic on our end was moving so slowly: for some reason, the light would turn green for us for about one second only and then turn to yellow then red. the other half of traffic got a full green.

i'm certain that a lot of people around me were doing the whole impatient thing. i didn't have to be home at any particular time aside from watching the Saints game which was about three hours away, so i sat in traffic with what i can only describe as an amused curiosity. curious because i really wanted to know what caused the glitch to happen the way that it did - i tended to think that the issue had to be one of sensor, that for whatever reason the part of the light network that determined whether or not there was traffic in the lanes i was in was the glitch culprit. But i also know from fuzzy memory deduction years back in PA that generally lights have some minimum default or at least can be set that way, so if i'm a lone car in a sensor lane and the light turns green, it waits for a predefined and programmed amount of time after i'm off it before it turns red. and that led me to wonder if that was glitchy too or if the people that put the light in just set it for low tolerance because they're dumb.

in any case i think i ended up sitting in the intersection for about 20 minutes while cars eked out one at a time. i also was accidentally in the wrong lane and opted to go the wrong direction and u-turn as opposed to creating more tension than was necessary in the lanes that were already grumpy in the first place by trying to push my way into the lane i needed to be in. not that it would have mattered much i don't think, but there's a reflex i can have about stuff like that sometimes.


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March 2017