Tripping the lights fantastic

26 July, 2022

RAA is reminding drivers seeing red to make sure they are doing the right thing to go green.

Sitting at the traffic lights waiting for them to turn green can be frustrating, however if you don’t position your vehicle in the correct location, you’ll find yourself rooted to the spot for even longer.

Traffic lights are triggered when the metal in a vehicle, including motorcycles and pushbikes, is detected by inductive loops placed under the bitumen.

They are located before the white stop bar and are about a typical car length. So, if you come to a halt beyond or before the inductive loops then you won’t trigger a light change.

A perfect example of how the loops do – and don’t – work was caught by co-incidence on camera when an RAA employee visited an intersection to take a photo to illustrate where the loops are located.

The grey utility pictured pulled up well beyond the stop bar. This would have briefly triggered the inductive loops, but the call-up would have been cancelled as the utility drove past them.

The red Magna pulled up shortly after, and given the position of the utility, allowed quite a bit of space probably in case the utility reversed.

However, these vehicles waited for around 7 minutes with no light change, as the inductive loop wasn’t triggered. Finally, the utility driver tired of waiting and took off. When the Magna pulled up to the stop bar, the light turned green almost immediately.

Proving the moral of the story – stop your car at the stop line if you want the lights to change.