Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:
> On Mon, 13 Dec 2004 22:34:48 +0000, Tony Raven <[email protected]>
>>a good driver should be regularly checking his mirrors and that
>>takes 0.5 - 1s per time and I don't think anyone would suggest a
>>competent driver should not do so. Meanwhile they have travelled 14-27m
>>without looking forward except for peripheral vision.
> Surely the inevitable result here is that a child will run out and be
> mown down? Or is that only when they look at their speedo?
> Incidentally, it is good practice to slow down and cover the brake
> when approaching light-controlled junctions. Or so my driving
> instructor told me.
Indeed. There's a set of lights on a dual carriageway near me. The
limit as you approach the lights (they are only applicable to one
direction) is 70. The lights themselves change fast, and seem to be set
up such that the both-red period can't be more than a second, if that.
I suspect in actual fact the side-junction is leery of pulling out till
they can see the cars on the dual have actually stopped, in practice, so
quite possible (as with other light-controlled junctions around here)
that there is no all-red period to them.
Anyway, the upshot is that there are those who will not slow approaching
the lights and will continue through on red, because they can't stop in
the time it takes to react/brake when they go amber (not very long spent
on amber, either, it has to be said). This isn't a problem, because if
they *genuinely* are too close, then they'll be through before the side
road moves off - because it's well known. Others will slow approaching
it, or are slowed by those in front filtering off to the left at the
junction - the majority of those will stop in time, due to having
already lifted off the throttle, if not already covering the brake.
Having driven through this junction many many *many* times, I've had
ample opportunity to try different tactics. What I've perceived whilst
doing this is that either all my cars stop on a sixpence (unlikely) or
it's a case that people don't know how fast their cars *could* stop if
they really wanted them to (and if you've been using your mirror, you
know if you'll end up with a following-too-closer in your boot if you
throw the anchor out). And I don't class the stops I do as emergency
ones - I could brake a fair bit sharper if it really was a 'stop or kill
something' situation. Many of my decisions to continue through are due
to it being a close call - being able to stop in time but being followed
too close. Often I'll stop, and a car or two in the lane next to me
will go flying through. If I approach at 70, though, without having
lifted off and the speed dropping, then I know I don't have enough time
to stop even though I know the instant the lights change I'll see them
(if you're coming up this fast to lights, you have already looked in
your mirrors and are looking at the lights/side junction!).
Not all 70mph trafficlight junctions have this characteristic of
approaching at 70 - in this instance it's the only one on the length of
the dual carriageway, the lanes merge to 1 shortly after as you climb up
a hill, and who knows what's about to turn out of the side junction and
then crawl up said hill at snails pace.
That said, there's a lot of lazyness around, and I think it's lazyness
and not knowing how fast you can stop your car that contributes to the
majority of red-light running on this junction, and I'm willing to bet
on others, too. Red light running is so common these days that I'm wary
of moving off till I can see the other traffic is slowing enough that
they'll stop, and not just wavering in indecision. This makes the
actual throughput of junctions even lower than normal, of course, and
increases congestion ;-)