#SOL22: Unexpected

A red stop sign made of metal is an octagon in all the states I’ve ever driven in. Has it always been red and white? If you are interested in historical trivia, check out this link.

Stoplights have a fairly consistent pattern with red at the top, then yellow and green at the bottom. Even colorblind folks can figure out the brightness of a light from the expected placement on the bar.

But this week I’ve been puzzled by a five light traffic sign. It looks like this

Or this.

If I need to make a left turn, I may be waiting awhile.

Can you predict what is in the other three light spots?

Is this a format familiar to you?

What does your basic left turn light look like?

Are you predicting with a high degree of certainty? What is your response when something fairly common in your life changes?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png


One more piece of evidence.

What goes in the remaining two lights in the left column?

9 responses

  1. Travel always has that slightly unsettling feeling as we try to match our new context with our known schema. I kind of wrote about that today too. Sometimes the predicting can feel exciting and other times futile. I have never seen traffic lights like those!

    1. Ah, yes, predictions can be exciting or futile. Different sides of the same coin!

  2. I love your questions, especially the last ones:
    Are you predicting with a high degree of certainty? What is your response when something fairly common in your life changes?

    I realize I wrote about this today. I had a common experience in my bakery. Then Sunday, I didn’t. And my go to reaction is to abandon and find a new routine because this one changed. I guess because I don’t like conflict, my reactions tend to be avoidance.

    Once again, Fran, you give me so much to ponder. All because of a stoplight that had 5 and not 3 lights. In DC, the lights are on the right side of the road and not overhead. It takes some getting used to as I leave VA and head into DC.

    1. The number of overhead lights in GA astounds me. This 5 light system is set up for left turns on a 2 lane road with an inside turning lane. And then if there is “merging” traffic there is often a traditional 3 light system two lanes over from the 5 lights. So very interesting.
      Our small towns in Iowa have given up on traffic lights. Most have put in stop signs with solar lighting around the edges so they are highly visible. Change. . . moving forward? moving to more sustainable?

  3. Road patterns, traffic lights, signage, these were often topic of discussion on my recent road trip w/ friends, one of whom taught drivers ed twenty years and knows much more than I. For example, I’d never heard the term zipper used in a road construction area. We decided all our road signs need to be bigger, like they are in Europe. I’m sure I’ve seen that light and think it has something to do w/ different lanes. I’m gonna look it up.

  4. All we need is one more thing to confuse senior drivers. What’s wrong with the green arrow for left turns? That works well for me.

    1. Both green and yellow arrows for turning.
      Aye yi yi.
      Realized that I never used cruise after the day I arrived.
      Oh well!

  5. Really confusing. In my town, a small one , with one main road, we have only red and green colour 🙂

    1. We are so small that we only have stop signs!

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