Waiting for a signal

Published 8:35 pm Thursday, October 9, 2008

I was glad when I heard a traffic light would be placed at the intersection of Lay Dam Road and Ollie Avenue in Clanton.

While nobody likes to wait on a traffic light, stop signs are just not enough for most major intersections. And I consider this intersection a major one because it connects two of Chilton County’s main thoroughfares and has a shopping center at one end (also it is the road I use every morning to get to work).

I know a few people who have had close calls at this intersection, including myself. Frustration builds as the traffic backs up, and this is usually because people are trying to turn left off of Ollie onto Lay Dam Road.

There is another reason why I think a traffic light is a good idea: I don’t trust people. I’ve seen too many people indicate they are about to turn when they just keep going. That’s why I don’t pull out in front of anybody until I know they are going to turn.

And, ironically, most of the people who do turn don’t use their signals anyway. Of course, there is really not any irony in this action because I already expect people not to use their signals.

Not that traffic lights are the end-all, be-all solution to any traffic problem. You could make the same argument for railroad crossbars and lights. But I do think they provide much-needed traffic control in areas where it is needed.

Just a few weeks ago, a relative of mine was driving between home and church when he was struck by a vehicle that ran a red light. We were all thankful he was OK, but his vehicle was totaled.

It just goes to show that traffic lights do not have any real control over traffic. You just hope people are aware enough to obey the signals. And, truthfully, you can never let your guard down on the road. That’s where I believe most people make fatal mistakes.