Traffic signals (lights) were first installed in 1868 in London, England. The English are always the first at everything. They’re always first at drinking you under the table, first at driving on the wrong side of the road (perhaps also due to drinking) and first at speaking English, of course.
Traffic signals alternate the right of way accorded to road users by displaying lights of a standards color (red, yellow/amber, and green) following a universal color code. Red light above the green, with the yellow in between (that’s a catchy little rhyme). This is all very boring, isn’t it? But, something that you may find interesting is how so much consideration has been taken to accommodate color blind people. Apparently, traffic lights are also displayed in a precise sequence to enable comprehension by those who are color blind. In addition, usually the red light contains some orange in its hue, and the green light contains some blue, said to be for the benefit of people with red-green color blindness. A little more information that you may find intriguing, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, of all color blind people, 66% of them are men. I have always heard that all dogs are color blind. I have never claimed to be a math genius, but, according to my math, 2/3 of all men are dogs.
The universal colors for traffic lights are red (which means stop), green (which means proceed) and either solid yellow (prepare to stop) or flashing yellow (yield and proceed with caution). The latest traffic lights have countdown timers which were introduced in the 1990s. Timers are useful for drivers/pedestrians to plan if there is enough time to attempt to cross the intersection before the light turns red and the amount of time before the light turns green. Most traditional traffic lights used incandescent and halogen bulbs. But, because of their low efficiency and burnout rate, they have, for the most part, been replaced with LED lights. These use less power, last longer and have a brighter light output. Pretty, bright, colorful lights…just like the lights on top of the police car that pulls you over for not obeying these traffic signals.
Until next week…
Comedienne / Writer / Artist
Traffic Signals – Comedy Defensive Driving