Types of Stop Lights That Piss Me Off

Stop Lights

Stop lights mean well. They really do. Without them the roads would be a lot more confusing and the 30 minute commute to work could possibly take an hour. Sometimes they work as intended freely moving traffic along while preventing massive backups, long waits, and accidents. On December 10th, 1868, the first traffic lights were installed outside the British Houses of Parliament in London. They resembled railway signals of the time, with semaphore arms and red and green gas lamps for night use. The gas lantern was turned with a lever at its base so that the appropriate light faced traffic. Unfortunately, it exploded on January 2, 1869, injuring the policeman who was operating it. If I had been alive back then, this light surely would’ve made my list…”The Exploding Traffic Light.”

The Neverending Redlight

Neverending Redlight

This one’s a given. It’s the redlight that stays red no matter how long you sit there. You begin to wonder if maybe you’ve pulled to far forward and the sensor in the ground doesn’t detect you or if the redlight even has a sensor on your side. This is more than likely an older fixed time control light or the road you’re trying to cross has a much higher right-away priority. Regardless…if you weren’t in a hurry when you left the house, you’ll be in a hurry after encountering one of these stupid things.

The Cop & Light Combo

Cop and Light Combo

Seriously…why spend all kinds of money on a stop light system when you’re going to pay a police officer to stand in the middle of the intersection and direct traffic? This is usually found in front of schools to assist school buses and be a preventative for speeders. Ok…makes total sense. But what about the one that’s nowhere near a school? We’re supposed to listen this Joe that thinks he can direct traffic better than a multi-thousand dollar computer system? Even worse is when the light is green and the jerk…I mean, guy in the reflective vest has his hand out telling you to stop.

The only good thing that comes from this type of stop light is the fact that you now have an object on which to blame your frustration. A lot of good yelling at an inanimate stop light’s gonna do…but the toot of the horn from way back in line all of a sudden makes you feel so much better knowing that he surely heard it.

Change-Way-Too-Fast Light

Change too fast

You’re 20th in line at a stop light on your way home during rush hour and the light turns green long enough to let five cars through. Then you slowly creep up a few feet to await the next cycle. These are the cause for many random shootings and more than likely the cause of most of the “postal” incidents.

The Missed Because of an Ambulance Light


It’s happened to all of us. They’ve got some little control over the redlights to make sure there’s no crossing traffic while he’s going through the intersection. Again, this is all well because I’m sure they’re in a bigger hurry than I am (well…most of the time.) But when your light just turns green and you haven’t even moved yet and you hear the sirens – you know it’s coming…so you sit and watch as the light turns back to red and you just lost an entire green cycle. And ambulances and firetrucks never travel in pairs…they travel a minute or two behind each other. This means that as soon as you get your green signal back, that firetruck is going to come rollin up in there and turn it red again. Awesome.

Redlight Wave

Red Light Wave

Every now and then you’ll luck out and get a nice wave of green lights going down a highway or busy 4-laned road. This is intentional. It’s what traffic light designers call “coordinated control”. The lights are linked in such a fashion that approaching vehicles are encountered with a string of green lights to keep traffic moving along nicely. The downside to this is that you can catch the tail end of this sequence and every light will turn red as you approach it. This is easily the most frustrating of all of the horrible traffic light types because it’s not limited to just one light. All of a sudden every light within sight is your nemesis.

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