Are traffic signals driving you crazy?

One of my complaints about life in the suburbs relates to street signage and traffic signals.

It seems every time a new subdivision is built, authorities feel they must introduce traffic lights to every new street that connects to a major artery. Sometimes, traffic signals are literally 50 metres apart and the result is dramatically slower traffic flow and congestion. The constant stopping and starting is not too good for vehicle engines or the environment either.

What further bothers me is that these lights seem to have very little variation in their timing mechanism, meaning that on a Sunday morning or in the overnight period some of these lights still operate in a sequence similar to that of the peak of rush hour; so one could be sitting there at a red light at 2 AM all alone, no other vehicle or pedestrian around, waiting for it to turn green.

For me, this is poor traffic management.

The same can be said for four-way stop signs at certain intersections where the signs seem to have only one function: slow traffic. Why can't we have a simple traffic circle or more yield signs?

In many areas of our cities traffic signals, speed limit signs and other roadway signage appear to have no correlation to the road conditions or to the driving environment. They can be downright confusing. What's even more bothersome is that police officers seem to relish enforcing rules that sometimes frankly don't make any sense and that catch many drivers unaware.

Recently, writer John Staddon wrote a piece in The Atlantic magazine that makes the argument that stop signs and speed limits actually endanger Americans. He says they are inducing a form of blindness in drivers caused by lack of attention to the roadway itself.

The article was entitled "Distracting Miss Daisy," and I agree with its premise.

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