Forestalling chaos — one stop light at a time

A RED light. Is it because blood is red, that if you don’t obey the red light’s command your red blood could very likely spill? You got me. But it’s all about stopping. You can make the case that it is a traffic light. However, it is known more by its function of ordering that you STOP your automobile. You wouldn’t call it a GREEN light would you? It might turn the color green although green appears to have little else to do with matters.

The traffic light, stop light, red light, call it what you will. Those lights are seemingly all that is keeping anarchy at bumper-to-bumper’s length. Society would crash and burn like an old acid head were it not for the stop light to make you STOP THE DAMN CAR!!! Or so one would think because red lights seem to be everywhere.

Stop lights are the bane of my daily life. I hate red lights. I have my own little jihad against red lights. It is not a violent jihad nor does it involve vandalism. But it’s a mental holy war just the same. It stems from the fact that 90 percent of this city’s traffic lights turn red when I approach them. It’s maddening first and foremost because it impedes my progress toward arriving at Point B from Point A. Sure, I like to drive sometimes but I don’t like having to stop at every red light during an expedition.

I also have some practical concerns about excessive stopping for traffic lights. Doesn’t a lot of fossil fuel burn up because of stopping and starting? In the city in which I live — Beaumont, Texas — a major concern over the years has been the high ozone levels that seemingly have improved. Stopping your car at every red light would appear to be counterproductive in fighting ozone.

What’s the answer? I am not in the answer business. Sorry. But we still must have traffic lights and they still must stop cars at some juncture. Could the traffic light system of the city be improved? Beats me, but I would think so. Would society break down if all traffic lights were removed? I wouldn’t think so, in the short term at least. Many drivers did pretty well without red lights in the aftermath of the hurricane. It did seem to take forever to get through some intersections where the signals were not functioning. And do you want to know something? Waiting in traffic is something I despise even more than red lights. So there you have it. Just what do you have, I don’t know. The world is a mysterious place isn’t it?

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