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Monday, September 27, 2010

The Stop Bar

A well intentioned PennDOT news release landed in my "in" box at work last week.  It was a request for us to remind you about the "stop bar."

The stop bar is a marking on the pavement, just before an intersection with a traffic light.  Beneath the stop bar is a sensor.  It lets the light know there's a car at the intersection, and it triggers the cycle.  If the sensor detects nothing, the lights stay red on one side and green on the other.

PennDOT wants to make sure drivers pull up far enough to land on the stop bar and the sensor beneath.  Otherwise, you could be waiting a long, long time for the light to turn if you happen to be on the "red" side.

I have a confession to make.  There are many times I stop well before the stop bar.  Here's why.  I grew weary of nearly having the nose of my car taken off by drivers who speed through intersections and make the turn at a considerably less than right angle.

Then, there are the trucks, too big to make a clean turn.  They too have nearly cost me my hood-- several times.

Don't tell me I can back up when a big truck approaches because the car behind me is usually right on my bumper.

There are two solutions-- teach people how to make a turn, or move the stop bars back, to a much safer distance.