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Old April 13th, 2010, 03:23 AM   #21
Gareth
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Not necessarily. In Britain & Scandinavia at least, signals are positioned both at the line and across the junction.
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Old April 14th, 2010, 12:11 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Yep, this is called the "clearance time" or "evacuation time" for an intersection. Because if somebody ran a deep-dark-yellow light, it takes a few seconds (especially trucks) to entirely cross the intersection, especially for left and right directions where you can't cross the intersection at full speed.

If there was no clearance time, traffic would already entering the intersection while conflicting traffic hasn't left the intersection yet.
I'd say the main reason this evacuation time exists around here is to allow left-turning vehicles to complete the turn.
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Old April 14th, 2010, 01:08 PM   #23
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In the case of trucks also right turns, because these are sharper and must be taken at a lower speed, extending the time a vehicle is on the intersection.

There are some differences regionally though. For example, in most of North America, traffic is lined up right at the intersection, with the signals placed across the intersection. In some parts of Europe, traffic signals are installed before the intersection, so traffic has to line up somewhat further from the actual intersection (as much as 20 meters), so if they get a green light, it takes an additional second or two before they enter the actual intersection.
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Old April 16th, 2010, 12:04 PM   #24
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In Greece the type of all traffic lights is yellow-red only
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Old April 16th, 2010, 05:42 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Von Königsberg View Post
in Europe traffic signals are positioned before the intersection
That is not a rule. The traffic lights are always before the intersection but there may be additional lights across the intersection as well.
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Old April 16th, 2010, 07:34 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Von Königsberg View Post
You mean shift into 1st in the beginning of the waiting time? When I learned how to drive manual transmission car, I learned to wait for the green light in neutral with the handbrake on. That is what I always do. So, red-yellow sequence is a very useful thing if you don't see the orthogonal traffic light signal (in Europe traffic signals are positioned before the intersection).
I only know the theory of manual transmissions, I've never actually driven one - it's not a requirement for you to be able to drive one for you to get your license in Virginia, and i'd expect in most other states, but I do hope to be able to operate one eventually.
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Old April 16th, 2010, 11:02 PM   #27
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I find the red-yellow phase quite useful, because it tells you to get into first gear to start once the light goes green. In Costa Rica, I was always irritated by the fact that this phase was always missing, so I stayed in neutral for only a short time but then quickly got into first gear in anticipation of whenever the light goes green (the phases were pretty damn irregular for me). Most other cars would creep forward during red, but when the lights go green, they don't start. However, I never used the parking brake in front of the lights (only if I was uphill and the hill was too steep to start without parking brake), what I did instead was, when the road was sufficiently flat, just release the brake pedal (and the car would stay where it was).

Speaking of weird phases, Costa Rica, and apparently also Austria have a flashing green phase, which indicates that the lights are about to go yellow. A pretty silly phase IMO, because for me, it does the same thing a yellow light does on its own (at least when the yellow isn't flashing).
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Old April 17th, 2010, 01:49 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie D. View Post
Speaking of weird phases, Costa Rica, and apparently also Austria have a flashing green phase, which indicates that the lights are about to go yellow. A pretty silly phase IMO, because for me, it does the same thing a yellow light does on its own (at least when the yellow isn't flashing).
Estonia also has the blinking green phase and it's very useful. You can get fined for driving through a yellow light so when the light suddenly turns yellow 10 metres before you enter the intersection, you don't have enough space and time to brake so you are bound to brake the law. But if the green light starts blinking, you either cross the intersection while the green is blinking or stop before the intersection if you are too far away to go through with a green light.
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Old April 17th, 2010, 03:20 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebasepoiss View Post
Estonia also has the blinking green phase and it's very useful. You can get fined for driving through a yellow light so when the light suddenly turns yellow 10 metres before you enter the intersection, you don't have enough space and time to brake so you are bound to brake the law. But if the green light starts blinking, you either cross the intersection while the green is blinking or stop before the intersection if you are too far away to go through with a green light.
They're trying to apply the same law here in Belgium, but since they don't provide such a flashing green light, I very much doubt they'll ever be able actually hand out fines for this situation...

I agree that it's a stupid phase though. Basically they're turning yellow into red and let green take over the role of the yellow. I guess it's done because some people drive a bit faster to just squeeze through the yellow phase - instead of braking and standing in front of the red light...

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Old April 17th, 2010, 08:03 PM   #30
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Canada has a flashing green, but it means something completely different: the opposing traffic still has a red so you have the right of way to turn left. (In the U.S., you'd get a solid green - meaning green to go straight and/or right - and a green, leftward-pointing arrow.)

Which could also go under "linguistic issues on road signs." The first time I drove in Canada, I was in Quebec, and while
my French is very good now, I was not then at a point where I could understand the sign explaining the flashing green ("Clignotant?" What's that mean?). On the other hand, I'm not sure the English version of the explanation - "advanced green when flashing" - that you see in Ontario is any clearer....

Last edited by Penn's Woods; April 19th, 2010 at 08:54 PM.
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Old April 17th, 2010, 08:24 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glodenox View Post
They're trying to apply the same law here in Belgium, but since they don't provide such a flashing green light, I very much doubt they'll ever be able actually hand out fines for this situation...

I agree that it's a stupid phase though. Basically they're turning yellow into red and let green take over the role of the yellow. I guess it's done because some people drive a bit faster to just squeeze through the yellow phase - instead of braking and standing in front of the red light...

Greetings,
Glodenox
Well, technically, the "blinking green" is part of the "green phase" that indicates the end of it. I'll post a video later on that shows how it works in Estonia. Also, the police usually doesn't charge people for crossing the intersection during a yellow light, especially if someone is tailgating you.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 02:02 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebasepoiss View Post
That is not a rule. The traffic lights are always before the intersection but there may be additional lights across the intersection as well.
You're right, but in general Alex is right, because I noticed that in many European countries the traffic lights are before the intersection, with lights after the intersection missing or being there only some of the time.

In the US and Canada the traffic lights are always after the intersection, so it's indeed true that you can predict with high accuracy when the green will appear by simply observing the orthogonal lights. In any case though, most of us here drive automatic transmissions so it rarely matters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glodenox View Post
They're trying to apply the same law here in Belgium, but since they don't provide such a flashing green light, I very much doubt they'll ever be able actually hand out fines for this situation...

I agree that it's a stupid phase though. Basically they're turning yellow into red and let green take over the role of the yellow. I guess it's done because some people drive a bit faster to just squeeze through the yellow phase - instead of braking and standing in front of the red light...

Greetings,
Glodenox
Israel also has the flashing green phase to indicate its end. Like Rebasepoiss stated, the difference between it and the yellow phase is that legally the blinking green is treated exactly as a green, whereas yellow is, well, yellow I think it's quite useful because it has the same effect as countdown timers (discussed in a different thread). They simply reduce traffic light anxiety and reduce some people's psychological tendency to not be sure what to do at certain distances from a yellow light. But of course, it's not a necessary phase by any means.

I agree with you though that fining people for going through a yellow light makes absolutely no sense unless it can be proven that you could stop but didn't on purpose (for example, by accelerating through it). The whole point of the yellow phase is to *allow* you to pass through it if you cannot stop. What if the light turns yellow when I'm 5 metres from the intersection, going at 60 km/h? Am I still required to stop or be fined?

I have noticed, though, that in many countries the yellow phase seems to be very short. Here in Ontario it's quite long in comparison.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
Canada has a flashing green, but it means something completely different: the opposing traffic still has a red so you have the right of way to turn left. (In the U.S., you'd get a solid green - meaning green to go straight and/or right - and a green, leftward-pointing arrow.)

Which could also go under "linguistic issues on road signs." The first time I drove in Canada, I was in Quebec, and which my French is very good now, I was not then at a point where I could understand the sign explaining the flashing green ("Clignotant?" What's that mean?). On the other hand, I'm not sure the English version of the explanation - "advanced green when flashing" - that you see in Ontario is any clearer....
Only some provinces use this phase (according to Wikipedia, only Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia). In BC, for example, that phase is used at pedestrian crosswalks, and has pretty much the same meaning as a regular solid green, except that it means that no one requested a crossing.

Either way though, I want to make a correction regarding your comparison to the US - 99% of the time here (in Ontario) you also get a solid green with a green left arrow in this case. The blinking green is actually becoming increasingly rare and is being phased out. I rarely encounter those anywhere in the Toronto area.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 02:02 PM   #33
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This is how traffic lights in Estonia work. (Sorry for the shitty quality!)
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Old April 18th, 2010, 04:57 PM   #34
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In Belgium you know the traffic from the other direction has a red light when you have an arrow light (so all lights are shaped in arrows) and you have green. When there's a normal round light and you go to the left, you should expect the other direction to also have green.

On many intersections with normal round lights there's the additional "clearing arrow" (literal translation) which is located at the other side of the intersection and shows a green arrow to the left when lit. When this light is on, you know that the other direction has a red light and that you can turn left without risk (thus clearing the middle lane of the intersection).

But that hasn't got that much to do with a yellow phase before green nor with blinking green lights, so I'm getting a bit off-topic here ^_^;

Greetings,
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Old April 18th, 2010, 04:58 PM   #35
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Yep

full light = conflicts possible
arrow light = always conflict-free
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Old April 18th, 2010, 06:18 PM   #36
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In Bulgaria we have red+yellow before green. Additionally there are counters that show seconds of red/green left, but those are optional. Here's an example of such countdown in Varna:

[IMG]http://i44.************/2q2g3le.jpg[/IMG]

You can also notice the car counter and a camera.
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Old April 19th, 2010, 08:36 PM   #37
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I don't see the point of blinking green. The whole point of amber is to warn you that red is about to show and so, you should stop, unless you are too close to the line to do so. Blinking green seems to be warning that amber is about to show, which I don't see the need for. You may as well add yet another phase which warns you that blinking green is about to show.

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Old April 20th, 2010, 02:31 AM   #38
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If they use blinking lights to say "we're going to switch to the next phase", they should do it all the way:

green -> blinking green -> amber -> blinking amber -> red -> blinking red -> green
The blinking amber and red may be interpret wrongly in some parts of the world though. But considering this phase wouldn't be for more than 4 seconds or so, I think the people will notice the difference...

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Old April 20th, 2010, 02:41 AM   #39
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I saw the red-yellow phase in Sweden, but there is no such thing in the US. I wish it was here. If I can see the light that is changing before mine, then I can get ready to go.
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Old April 23rd, 2010, 10:12 AM   #40
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I don't see the point of blinking green either, it only confuses. Why not just have a longer yellow phase?

That said, in Switzerland you don't get fined if you drive through in the yellow phase unless you are speeding.

Blinking yellow is already used in Switzerland to signal that you should drive by the normal rules of the intersection without lights. Often at nighttimes the lights are not used.
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