Lights Around the World
You can find traffic lights or traffic signals at most road intersections or pedestrian crossings around the world. Traffic lights are used to keep people and traffic safe. They use a universal color system in which red means stop and green means to go. However, different countries have different traffic signals. Choose a link below to learn about four different kinds of traffic lights.
The bar traffic light is a traffic light found in Tiajin, China. It is in the shape of a bar. When you see a red bar, you have to stop. After awhile, the bar will start to get smaller. This shows how much time is left on red. Then when the red bar is two-thirds "eaten up," the red light will disappear and be replaced by a full green bar. When the green bar is finished, it will flash a two-thirds green bar. Then the green bar is replaced by a full yellow bar. The yellow bar stays for a few seconds. Then the bar flashes once quickly. Then the yellow bar disappears and is replaced with a full red bar. Then the process starts all over again.
Another traffic light system in Tianjin is called the multiple arrow traffic light. This light uses arrows pointing in all the possible ways you can turn. Every arrow has its own color to show which way traffic can flow. But the one major disadvantage of this system, is that most people in the world have never seen this system.
Most traffic lights in the world change in the order of red, green, yellow (stop, go, slow down). But in some countries like the United Kingdom, Poland, New Zealand and Germany, the traffic lights go red, red and yellow, green, yellow. The red and yellow stage means that green will be coming shortly.
On some busy highways, there are not an even number of lanes. One of the lanes may be used as a counterflow lane. This means the traffic in the counterflow lane can be reversed at any time. The a lane control signal lets people know whether or not they can use the lane. The arrows tell whether or not you can go. The red X means the lane is closed. A green arrow pointing straight down means the lane is open. A yellow arrow slanted down to the right means that the lane is about to be closed.
"Traffic Light." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia. 14 February 2005. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page>.
Copyrighted animated traffic light in upper left corner of page from "Microsoft Office Online" <http://office.microsoft.com/clipart/default.aspx?lc=en-us&cag=1> (October-March, 2004-2005). Clip art available only to licensed users for non-commercial purposes.
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