Sue and I were driving to Lansing. We were still several hundred feet from an intersection when I noticed the traffic light turn yellow. Dutifully, I let up on the gas, slowed, then applied the brakes for the, now red, light.
However, there was no cross traffic, even though this was one of those sensor-lights. You know, one that senses when a car is being forced to wait because cross-traffic is too heavy for smooth convergence. Well, my cross-up brain traffic over sensitized. My thinking was alerted that this particular light must have a super-sensor on the side street—one that’s more instinctive than perceptive.
It seemed to be intuitive—No waiting on the less-traveled road. As soon as a vehicle in either sub-division leaves its driveway, I get a red light. Coincidentally, the redness of the light facing me flushing my face.
Considering the speed limit for the intersecting street is 25 mph, they hardly have to slow down…ever. And the only reason for slowing down is because everybody turns. Nobody ever goes across the intersection from the side streets.
So…there we were…on the 45-mph road. Sitting at the light, which has now been red long enough for my blood pressure to rise several millimeters of mercury, if not inches of cast iron. Also inching forward are a half dozen cars in two opposing lanes. But, there is still no cross traffic.
Malfunction? Oh, no, no, no…the car that triggered our red light got to the corner, stopped and proceeded to turn right BEFORE the light turned red for us. It was a half mile down the 45-mile-an-hour road.
And still I sat. Still sat, not sat still. Sat being a relative word which is the same word used to describe a child squirming in the back seat pleading for a rest stop. My own impatient squirming was not bladder related—though given the opportunity I just might relieve myself on… Never mind.
I’ll just admit I needed to vent my frustration of having to wait for a green light. Thirty years ago, my kids used to laugh at my mutterings about this light. I could hear them begin to giggle whenever the light would turn yellow. They saw it as a glowing spark that would surely light my fuse. I’d blow up with sarcastic ranting.
Traffic lights are intended to alleviate hazards of crossing traffic at busy intersections. This particular intersection only has cross drivers on the thru-road, never cross traffic.
Oh, wait…excuse my exaggeration. I do recall once when a UPS truck did, in fact, cross the intersection. It apparently had deliveries in both sub-divisions on opposite sides of this well traveled road.
I can’t exactly explain why this light has stuck in my craw for so many years. Even when I pass under the light without having to stop, I cringe at the thoughts of the privilege of wealth. It is speculation, of course. However, I am confident it was their money, not the foresight of the Road Commission, that got the sensor-light installed AS THE SUBDIVISIONS were constructed.
That’s what irritates me. And I believe my grievance is justified. Let’s face it, people would certainly have adverse feelings towards McDonald’s if McD “bought” a sensor light at the exit from their drive-thru lane.