Posted On: Monday - March 13th 2023 5:10PM MST
In Topics:   Cheap China-made Crap  General Stupidity  The Future  Peak Stupidity Roadshow
I am not sure that the long-lasting light bulbs in the traffic signal lights near me are Cheap China-made Crap or not. I could ask someone from the city Street Division, but I'd probably have to see one of the bulbs and look it up. I wouldn't be even thinking about this if there weren't more and more burned out traffic lights around.
I think back to about 5 years ago, when I could talk to my son about this. We discussed the problem. It COULD potentially just be my imagination or noticing bias, but I really don't think so.
It's the red light bulbs* that are worrisome. These small intersections have 2 sets of red/yellow/green for each direction, so 24 bulbs total. There is redundancy for each until a bulb burns out.
The yellows don't burn out much, because they aren't on for long. Were both out for one direction, it might be odd for some drivers, hearkening back to I don't know how long, but I would hope drivers would be able to deal with it.
If both greens burn out for one direction, I see even less of a danger, and only a problem with slower traffic, as those who know the intersection would slow to almost a stop before they can see the reds for the crossing road.
If that 2nd red in that direction goes out, it's an accident waiting to happen, by my guess, within the day. These are stoplights within a neighborhood. Most of the traffic is drivers who know there is a stoplight there. Not all of them, however, are good enough drivers to stay off the iCrap and not miss things like this. All it would take is for an unfamiliar or distracted (or both) driver to come through in the direction that should have a red light while a non-defensive driver comes through the intersection in the crossing direction.
Worse yet, many of these neighborhood intersections don't have good sight lines. In other words, defensive driving doesn't help much, unless you drive like Grandma. I don't blame people for loving their trees, bushes, and brick walls, but I don't think all the code is being followed. Due to simply the lay of the land, one intersection has the busier road in an ~ 30 ft. lower valley, as the lower-traffic crossing street comes downhill to the intersection for both ways. There are houses on all corners, and in one direction, you can't see to the left without being IN the intersection. People speed up due to the downhill and their wanting to catch the light. Years ago, probably without burned-out bulbs being involved, my friend witnessed a fiery crash there.
I happened upon one of the city guys once and told him about a burned-out red light. It got fixed within a few days. Now, I see this problem quite often, in fact the usual 2 stop lights I go through in one direction almost always have 1 or 2 of the 24 lights out. This is not the way it used to be. I know that for sure. Things are getting shoddy.
I believe it's a combination of lower quality bulbs and incompetence in keeping up with one of the primary jobs of the city, maintaining the infrastructure. Where's the money going? How big is the budget of the Office of Diversity? Let's get some DIE people up there on cherry pickers before people DIE.
PS: LED-based signals have been around for 25 years, by my recollection, but I've seen rows/columns of the individual LEDs go dark, so maybe they are not working out as well as I figured they would.
PPS: The style of traffic light fixtures in the image above is classic, but there aren't many left around of these all-12-in-one types. We usually have 8 (x3) fixtures instead of the 2 (x12).
* By that, I mean (red light) bulbs, not red (light bulbs), as the colors come from the lenses in front of the clear bulbs.