Thursday, July 3, 2008

Do We Really Need Traffic Lights At Every Intersection?

Was reading In Melbourne’s Herald Sun Newspaper on June 25th, of an innovative way of handling traffic in the German town of Bohmte.

After a 4-week trail, they have scrapped all traffic lights and road signs there in a radical move designed to reduce traffic accidents. Only two rules apply now: drivers cannot exceed48km/h (30mph) the German speed limit in urban areas; and everyone has to yield to the right. Where previously there had been at least one serious crash and scores of minor ones per week, there was not one in the original 4-week trail. Yes, since the system started there had not, at the time this made the papers, yet been one!

Before you say it is crazy and wouldn’t work elsewhere, let me tell you of an experience during our time in our “Beautiful “slightly out of town suburb of ”Ikwezi Extension” in Umtata in South Africa.

Umtata had a population of some 2 million people living within a 40km radius. Fortunately not all had Cars but there were still more than enough there. We lived about 2kms from the Post Office, between the main town and the Slum area where a large number of the population lived and there was one main road in and out of this area with a major crossroads and traffic lights just down the road from us. Sorry Traffic “Robots”, just down the road from us!

Theoretically this intersection should have been the safest in the whole town, as it was a good road, with traffic lights, and clear approaches from at least 200 metres in all directions.

Should have been the safest anywhere for that mater, but wasn’t and there seemed to be accidents, minor and major nearly every second day. That is except for one magic 17-day period.

A 17-day period when the power was out to the traffic lights and everyone approached with caution, instead of always trying to beat the lights as before.

So this new approach being tried in Germany will work elsewhere too. But the real question here is, not will it work where you are, but how do you drive where you are? Do you drive like you own the road? Or do you drive with caution, if not care and respect of others too?

When you think you own the road, you drive with abandon, believing everyone will get out of your way. However when you treat every intersection as a possible danger, all arrive safely, including you and your love ones.

So today’s plea is for you to drive always as if there were no lights or signs and that every intersection is an accident to be avoided. Will you do that please? For your sake as much as mine! Thank you!

1 comment:

Lynx217 said...

And for people like me that walk most places. Please, if you see someone crossing the street or trying to, let them cross if it's safely possible. Don't speed up to get around a pedestrian. It'll only take a moment or two, and both you and the pedestrian will make it safely.