Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Flashing Lights On The Road

My mother used to say, “When you hear a siren, it means somebody’s day has just been ruined.” I guess so; it’s never a good sign.

Flashing lights on the road can mean almost anything. For me, if they are strobe lights, it means I have to find another way to get around them. Strobes are everywhere these days: utility vehicles, police cars, the back of mail trucks, the top of school buses, towers, fire alarms on buildings, the backs of little kids’ sneakers.

But for the rest of us, they can be as utilitarian as a “horse” warning us of a large hole in the road, someone’s 4-way flashers on a car, inoperative traffic lights set to flashing yellow (or red), an advertising sign, a railroad crossing. They are so normal in our lives we don’t even think about them.

As far as I can tell, they are either a warning or an invitation. “Watch out for this hole” or “Eat at Joe’s.” School crossing … reduce speed … used cars at discount … speed limit enforced. It might be a good game for your passenger (not you) to play: how many of which kind of flashing lights do you see as you drive down any street?

I have to go out now and maybe I’ll try to keep my eyes open to how often these appear. I won’t keep a running total; that’s as bad a talking on a cellphone, given the distraction it causes. Maybe just on one street. Flashing lights only, or maybe just flashing advertising signs. This ought to be interesting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As another looksee...

Have you ever noticed that when a cop pulls someone over for a speeding violation, flashers going full blast and everyone slows down?

Hey, you can fly by there as fast as you want, he won't chase you, he's already got one customer.

Exit 318

March 18, 2010 7:57 AM  

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