Monday, December 20, 2010

Engage The Traffic and Crosswalk Sensors Already!

It's a good thing that I don't drive to work these days so I can avoid experiencing one of the most retched,  heinous, and impeding pet peeves known to vehicular traffic - drivers not pulling their cars up to traffic signal sensors.  If only I didn't also walk to the Metro instead and experience the equally disturbing unpushed crosswalk button plague, life would be good.

It's really easy; just drive to the white line as seen in every intersection drawing ever made.

If you, car in position #1, typically want a traffic light to change sooner, then you must drive over the traffic light's sensor lines in the asphalt (unless it's an old fashioned light that just uses a timer).  There's no need to be a few car lengths away from the stop line.  Just stop your car before the stop line and in the sensor's area and we'll get along just fine. It is in this magic pavement position (MPP) that cars are failing to enter and failing to help traffic move.

There are several types of traffic light sensors, from laser detection, to hoses filled with air, to wire induction (the most common).  You can tell an inductive loop sensor when you see a rectangle line in the asphalt just in front of a traffic light's stop line.  When a car rolls over wires in the asphalt, it increases the induction of the circuit below.  This difference in induction alerts the traffic light that its cycle should change to accommodate a car.  None of which happens outside of the MPP.

Just make it to this MPP and we'll get moving in no time!

I simply want to be as efficient as possible when I'm on the go.  I don't think of myself as a terribly aggressive driver (who does?), but if people are preventing me from moving efficiently, they need to know the error of their ways.  Just pull forward so I can get going.  If you drive forward just a few feet, all of us waiting in the left-turn lane will get to our destinations faster.  And guess what...so will you. Engage the giver light!

I can only guess that drivers do not pull up to the line because they fear being rear-ended and even pushed into pedestrians.  With some luck, you have your foot on the brake and won't lurch too far because the driver behind should not be moving terribly fast either.  Just don't pull into my crosswalk.  A car lurching forward yields the following mathematical proof:  vehicular inertia + my femur at bumper level = pain and crutches for me.

Just your usual 13-light signal in Germany.


My unnecessary need to travel efficiently continues when I'm walking in the crosswalk.  Why is it that so many people don't hit the pedestrian button at a crosswalk?  If it's fear of germs, then the person should also be wearing a mask for the car fumes and a bodysuit to save their skin from the air.  Just use your winter gloves or your elbow or just about anything.  I don't care.  Just hit the button.  There's no other way tell the traffic lights that we're waiting to cross.

It's not as though you can miss the button.  It's at waist level, often accompanied by a sign imploring you to press it.  What else do you have to do while standing there looking at traffic?  Pedestrian buttons are not new and are really easy to use.  Just press the only button on the pole and soon we'll have the right-of-way.  It's that easy!  Even you, button unpusher, can't mess it up. 

Pretty tough to press it just once, right?

I won't be insulted if you pressed a button that I just pressed a minute ago.  I'd rather you double-check my work than to have us not cross the street at all.  In fact, some crosswalk buttons have lights above them to tell you that they've been pressed.  With a light above the button, we no longer fear insulting the person standing there by pressing the button; now we know whether or not the person is oblivious to travel fluidity.

It's simple.  Light on, button was pressed.  Light off, press the damn button!  Finally, crosswalk button technology has advanced to that of the elevator button. And if all this time the crosswalk button is fake, I'll continue pressing it out of stubbornness and blind faith that one day it'll make a difference.

One way to get the universe rebooted and safely cross an intersection.

So move your car up to the line to tell the traffic signal that your car is there and press the crosswalk button to tell the traffic signal that you're standing there.  Use the people movement technology available to us and we'll get where we're going efficiently.  Together.

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