Sound Off

Sound Off: Why don’t all of the countdown lights on Lawrence traffic signals turn yellow when they hit zero?

Megan Gilliland, the city’s communications manager, provided this answer: While the countdown signals are for pedestrians, the yellow lights are for motorists. The pedestrian signals have to count down in case there is a motorist on a side street waiting when it gets to “0.” That may not always be the case, but the controller has to prepare for it. Motorists should not make driving decision based on pedestrian signals.


Tim Quest 6 years, 2 months ago

Wow...that doesn't answer the question at all.

iron_outlaw 6 years, 2 months ago

I see the answer clearly. Pedestrian signals are for pedestrians and are not a way to judge traffic signals. The count down is not a reason to speed up and try to beat the yellow light.

Angie Evers 6 years, 2 months ago

It's a very good question. Consistency is what we expect as both motorists and pedestrians. For the safety of both.

"Motorists should not make driving decision based on pedestrian signals." ...But they do. And having discussed this situation with a Transportation Engineering professor at KU, it is more than reasonable for motorist to do so. The human factor should be taken into account when designing roadway signals. And the city has been informed of this by experts (the above mentioned professor, for one). It is truly ridiculous and quite frustrating.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 2 months ago

I will provide an explanation for the confused motorists that you are talking about:

Red = Stop, you may not proceed.

Yellow = Stop, if it is safely possible to do so.

Green = You may proceed through the intersection, but always do so with caution.

I thought that was covered in the driving handbook, but if there are confused motorists such as you are talking about, it is certainly a good idea to repeat it.

I hope they are able to read.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 2 months ago

The exception to the above is that if there is no oncoming traffic, and there are no pedestrians in the pedestrian crossing, you may make a right after stopping.

There are also the Red, Yellow, and Green arrows.

Consult your driving handbook if you do not understand those.

Some people need to go to driving school. That is obvious because there are so many car accidents, there were 452 within Lawrence during the last two months.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 2 months ago

I was a driving instructor for a couple people here in Lawrence, and neither of them ever had a problem understanding those concepts.

And they began with starting the car, putting the transmission into D, and learning how to operate the steering wheel. But, both of them already understood what the brake pedal was for.

For one of them, I had to explain which was the gas pedal and which was the brake pedal, and also provide a helpful hint so that the student would know whether the turn signal should go up or down to indicate which direction you intend to turn.

I really wish I could always know where these confused motorists that you are talking about are, so that I can stay away from them when I'm walking, riding my bicycle, or driving.

P.S. Both of them had other driving instructors in the past, and both of them agreed that I was the very best driving instructor they ever had.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 2 months ago

Here's one of the reasons they considered me to be the best: I never screamed at them, unlike every other driving instructor I have ever heard of.

Instead, I directed them to pull over and stop by the side of the road, and then I would provide a very clear explanation of exactly what they had done wrong.

And, we would not proceed with any more driving until I was sure they understood what they had done wrong.

P.S. If you are considering me have you teach you how to drive, keep in mind that it takes me about 4 to 6 months to get over the last student and start with another.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 2 months ago

And, the student has to provide the car and insurance, I will not use mine for instruction.

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