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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Traffic Signals Part II

I drove to work this morning and accoutered an intersection with traffic lights that were not functioning. This was a major thoroughfare intersecting with a shopping mall side street. Radio traffic reporters always tell us to treat an intersection with non functioning traffic signals as one with 4-way stop signs. But the traffic on the main road was sailing right through without even slowing down and the cars on the side street waited patiently.
What does the Highway Traffic Act expect us to do in this situation? I couldn’t find a relevant section in the Part X “Rules of the Road”. I think the following section applies:

Right of way at uncontrolled intersections

135. (1) This section applies where an intersection is not controlled by a stop or yield sign or a traffic control signal system.
Right of way
(2) Every driver approaching an intersection shall yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection that has entered it from an intersecting highway.
(3) When two vehicles enter an intersection from intersecting highways at approximately the same time, the driver on the left shall yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right.

The drivers at our intersection were completely ignoring the HTA. Why? Because it was impractical and borderline dangerous to comply with the law.
The solution to this is to have secondary signage installed at these intersections in case the lights go out. This is done in many jurisdictions all over the world with good results.
The “not invented here” syndrome strikes again. It’s time for drivers in this great Province to wake up and demand rational traffic laws and fair enforcement focused real safety.

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