Stop When the Light is Out

Remember, folks: When a stoplight is out, treat it like a four-way stop.  #

15 Responses to “Stop When the Light is Out”


  • Try telling that to people who are coming up Pantops on their way home from work. Virginians are TERRIBLE drivers when it comes to this situation. On the other hand, when a situation like this occurs, why are the road crews placing temporary stop signs at highly congested intersections as a safety measure? I hate to say this, but, that is exactly what happens in the city I am originally from. The city and county should hold the safety of its citizens as its number one goal.
    WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!

  • Today witnessed a near-accident at the intersection of Rio Rd East and the Fashion Square Mall/Albemarle Square. The light was not functioning, most people *were* being courteous and treating it like a four-way stop, but one car, driving on Rio, came blasting through the intersection and nearly hit a car that was turning left in front of her. The rest of us had stopped since it was that driver’s turn to go. The reckless driver just missed him. She didn’t even slow down as she approached the intersection!

  • Another example of why the raod crews should have placed temp stop signs at that intersection, ESPECIALLY that intersection. I am starting to believe that some people either don’t look at traffic lights or are so color blind that they can’t see the red light. The most common color blindness id reg-green, believe it or not. We need to petition both the county and the city of Charlottesville to put temp stop signs up the next time. Who do we approach about this?

  • I drove to Canada last week, and one of the more interesting things that I noticed in the way of differences is that many of their traffic lights use different shapes. Red is square, yellow is triangular, and green is round. That way, there’s another cue available to determine the status of the light, for folks who have difficulty processing color.

  • Traffic circles require no electricity.

  • Brian,
    The problem with traffic circles is they use too much space and drivers still need to have their brains in gear to determine who has the right of way. I have had several close calls at the traffic circle in our neighborhood because of that. I just don’t see why the police can’t be more responsive to these situations. They should be using temp stop signs and patrolling the bad intersections to clamp down on the crazy, reckless drivers. Defend. Protect, Serve.

  • I wish traffic lights that need resetting, but have power, would flash red in all directions. In the past, I’ve encountered lights which were flashing red, but unless you’ve travelled that road late at night (after those lights normally go to flashers), you may not know that the *other* street has a yellow flashing light.

  • Good point Jocelyn. I’m not sure what renovations would be needed to turn and intersection to all-way flashing red. If it were suggested, we might hear how expensive it is. That would be tatamount to putting a price on OUR safety.

  • To brian’s point, this whole event made me realize how much better downtown would be with a traffic circle at the McIntire-Preston-Market-Ridge snarl. It would drastically improve the flow of that intersection, and there’s actually plenty of room for it (if the county office gives up some of their front lawn ;)

  • Curiously enough, a recent study (cannot quote it now but read in The Atlantic) showed that cities that slowly REMOVED traffic signs and increased traffic circles had much less wasted time and MUCH less accidents.

    I guess they forced people to pay attention to the road. But you have to pay attention to driving…and think.

    Cville put generators on their important intersections. Albemarle put up traffic cones.

    And the funniest part of all. Do you know that if you want to hit nothing but green lights up and down 29 from Hydrolic to Walmart you need to go 58 MPH? They are actually set for 13 MPH over the speed limit.

  • Re: traffic circles. I’m from Buffalo, NY and the streets there are arranged as spokes radiating from several large traffic circles. This layout was designed long before the invention of the automobile. The circles work well on roads that get light to moderate traffic, but a major traffic circle in the middle of downtown (Niagara Square) is tricky to navigate and traffic lights had to be placed within the circle, which defeats the purpose of it. When I lived there, I would usually plan my driving routes to avoid the big traffic circles because they were dangerous and there seemed to be no consensus over who had the right of way. And this, in a city with many circles where drivers were supposedly used to them. You need educated drivers to make traffic circles work.

  • Patience, I am also from Buffalo and your last statement is precisely why LARGE traffic circles, like Niagara Square, don’t work well. Besides educating drivers, I still maintain that the police, both city and county, need to step in when an outage like this happens and cripples numerous areas as it did here.
    P,S, I’m actually from Rochester, but lived in Buffalo the four years prior to moving here. We HAD an large traffic circle at the Memorial Bridge years ago. It was smaller than Niagara Square, but it was still a problem and was eventually removed. Traffic flows MUCH better now.

  • I agree that we needed more police presence at some of those intersections.

    Another circle in Buffalo that doesn’t work is Gates Circle. The fact that there is a light a short way down Delaware Ave. from the circle and a large hospital on the circle means traffic is often backed up.

    I don’t want to be too negative about circles because sometimes they’re great, but I imagine a cyclist who tried to navigate a busy circle would be quickly mowed down. Circles can be tricky for pedestrians too. Last summer I got stuck in the middle of a very busy traffic circle in Rome. If we ever do adopt traffic circles, we need to consider the needs of people who travel by bike or on foot.

  • People in Charlottesville rarely even bother to pull over when emergency vehicles approach, so it’s not at all surprising that many don’t know what to do when a stoplight is dark.

  • Big Al,
    Actually, this is for everyone. What do you think can be done to change peoples’ driving habits and make them more aware of the rest of the world that they are affecting when they drive so thoughtlessly? That is, other than major accidents. I would love to see pickets at sites of previous accidents where people have really been hurt.

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