Every day on my drive into work, I arrive at this junction near the office, and sit in the filter lane at the lights, needing to turn right.

The sequence of the lights varies depending on the time of day, but there’s generally a cycle where the straight-ahead filter is green, and the right-turn filter is red. (Sometimes, when the right-turn filter is red, the pedestrian light is also green, but only if a pedestrian pressed the button.)

At least once a week, when the straight-ahead filter is green, but the right-turn filter is red, some cretin (usually a lorry driver) will honk his horn at me if there’s a gap in the oncoming traffic, until the right-turn filter comes on and I move off. (Today it was a lorry driver and a Nissan Micra full of Dublin’s finest.)

If I’m particularly lucky, they’ll then follow me down that road to the lights at the Business Park, where I need to make a left turn. At those lights, there’s a similar sort of setup with a straight-ahead filter and a left-filter. But there’s no dedicated filter lane at this one, so the left lane is for both left-turning and straight ahead traffic. Of course, when the straight-ahead filter is green, and the left-turn filter is red, that gives them another chance to honk their horns, if they were too thick to realise that I was indicating to turn left and they probably ought to have moved out into the right lane as we approached the lights so they wouldn’t have to wait.

It does my head in. That is all.

23 thoughts on “Lights”

  1. @Bob: Clearly you gave enough of one to comment, rather than just ignore, which is what most people do when they read posts that don’t interest them…

    Meanwhile, *I* give one, because if there are so many people out there driving who can’t interpret basic traffic signals, it’s a fair bet that one of them is going to crash into me one day. (And an even better bet that they’ll be uninsured.)

    Alternatively, one of these days, one of them will get fed up sitting honking their horn at me, get out, and smash a tyre iron off my head instead. I don’t fancy that much either.

  2. if you are waiting in the beginning of lane, then moving out to the center of crossing and waiting there might hint drivers behind that you saw the signal.

    But all in all i can’t wait for the day when horns will be removed out of cars, because they can’t be operated quick enough in extreme cases, and usage of loud and disturbing sound as some kind of motivator is questionable anyway 🙂

  3. …and lock the doors, that’s what i do after i got beaten in face while waiting in crossing once (true fact). sorry for comment spam 🙂

  4. This is one of the reasons I’m reluctant to get a driver’s license, even though it would probably help me e.g. get a job at some point or another. Having walked and bicycled I can’t help being an avid traffic and motorist hater. Cars in traffic is always an element of insecurity to me. Oh well, one of these days I’ll probably have to cave in and get that damn license.

    Anyway Calum, breath deeply and don’t mind these idiots 🙂 No possibility of taking the bus to work I guess? You get used to it and I’ve actually grown to like the (two) morning buses I take to work every day, even though the twelve line is late 80% of the time and packed with people 🙂

  5. @tm: “if you are waiting in the beginning of lane, then moving out to the center of crossing and waiting there might hint drivers behind that you saw the signal.”

    Yeah, I actually do that sometimes (doesn’t always help though!), which is fine as I know the right-turn filter is coming up next. But if they ever change the sequence, I could be hung out to dry 🙂

    Also, although I didn’t mention it in the post, it’s actually a box junction. So technically I’m only allowed to move forward if it’s *only* the oncoming traffic that’s blocking my right turn, which isn’t the case– I’m also blocked by the red filter light.

  6. @Elvis: yeah, I do occasionally take the bus, maybe I should do it more often 🙂 It’s not quite so much fun standing around waiting for buses in the winter, though…

    I can also take an alternative route that means I approach that junction from the opposite direction–adds 5 minutes to my journey (more when it’s busy), but it’s probably worth it for the decreased stress level!

  7. In my neck of the woods (London, Ontario, Canada) there are only a very select few dedicated left-hand turn signals. It always amazes me how many drivers have no idea how to treat it properly — driving through on a red, creeping into the intersection when the sequence does not allow for a left-turn afterwards.

    left == right. 😉

  8. City driving sucks, no matter which part of the world you’re in. Driving out in the country is (usually) better. Except in places where the development crews figured that the road only needs to be wide enough for one car (I’m talking to you, rural Japan).

    Here in the US, it can get really confusing because traffic laws vary by state. I live in Ann Arbor (Michigan), but have recently been to both Pheonix (Arizona) and Seattle/Redmond (Washington). U-turns at traffic lights are illegal in Michigan, legal in Washington at marked lights, and legal everywhere in Phoenix except where marked otherwise. Turning left at a red signal on one-way roads is legal in Michigan, but not the other two states. Traffic singles in the south are also often horizontal instead of vertical. Driving cross country is kinda nuts, because you have to keep remembering which laws are in effect even though you never leave the country.

    I wonder if any of the other really big countries have that problem?

  9. Hmm. Are you driving forward into the junction? Here (which is northern ireland, by the way. Hi :D), when the forward light is green, you’re supposed to drive forward ’til you’re perpendicular with the road you want to turn onto and be ready to turn, even if the light says you can’t turn yet. Err… I think 😀 Worst case scenario, you turn as the lights change, just before people come out of the road you want to turn into.

    Also, if it says you can’t turn right, but you can go straight and nothing is locking the left lane, I generally just turn right anyway. No point being anal about the signs and sitting in the junction for ages, unless cops are around.

  10. @Lee: that certainly wasn’t the case when I learned to drive in the UK– a red light for *your* lane meant you weren’t allowed to cross the solid white line, regardless of what the other lanes were doing…

    To be honest, there’s part of me that quite enjoys pissing off the people behind me by making them wait, but today I just wasn’t in the mood for their arseyness. I’d *never* drive through a red light at an ordinary red-amber-green set of lights, so I don’t see how it’s any more acceptable to do it in this case…

  11. @Sean: Canada has the same issue across provinces. I drove “across” the country a few years ago (okay, from London to Vancouver) and each province had it’s own rules: Alberta had horizontal lights, a flashing green in Ontario means you have an early advance, whereas in British Columbia it apparently means you have an advance but any pedestrians present have the right-of-way and you must yield to them regardless. Don’t even mention areas that don’t observe daylight savings time (I’m looking at you, Saskatchewan)

    Granted, London to Vancouver, while being half the continent, is still only five provinces..

  12. It seems odd that there’s a junction that has a straight-on filter, yet when that goes green you’re *not* allowed to turn left.

  13. I have a driver’s license, but I have never driven since I moved to Japan five years ago, and I’m going to let it expire. Driving is no fun, but stressful and a hassle, and driving to work takes a big chunk out of your day completely unnecessarily. When I go by train I can spend the time reading or studying; good luck with that in a car.

    Besides, where we live the monthly parking at home alone costs as much as my train commute. No way do I want to spend twice or three times as much money every month just so I can lose my daily relaxing reading time.

  14. @Christopher: yeah, they seem to like their straight-on filters here. Mostly they’re synced up with a pedestrian crossing on the side road, so when the straight-ahead filter is green, the pedestrian crossing is (potentially) showing green too, so the traffic has to be stopped from turning into the side road.

    That said, I’m sure I don’t remember nearly so many junctions that work like that in the UK, yet pedestrian crossings and traffic lights seem to co-exist quite happily together there…

  15. @Janne: unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), driving to work takes a much smaller chunk out of my day than public transport– it’s only a 15 minute drive on a good day, but it’s impossible to do it in less than 30 minutes on the bus, if you’re lucky to find one running on time. At least the parking is free at both ends, for me…

  16. Wow, that’s a fancy diagram.

    The exact opposite happens here, at one particular junction I have to pass through. There is one lane for left, one for right and one in the middle for those who want to go straight. Unfortunately, the thing that usually happens is that everyone wanting to turn right takes up the right lane, and then the center lane too, so those who want to go straight have to go to the left lane and then shift back to the center lane.

    It would be funny if it weren’t so frustrating.

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