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LA's Red Light District (Not That Kind)

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If you live in LA, you're probably familiar with the on-ramp traffic lights that limit the number of cars entering a freeway at any given time—usually allowing one or two cars per green depending on the number of lanes. But some people don't notice these bright lights. In fact, twice in the last two months, I've nearly been hit by drivers who apparently failed to see the traffic signal. The first person was in an SUV, and the second was driving a truck.

In the latter instance, which happened today, I knew that the traffic light was on because there was a sign stating as much near the entrance of the on-ramp. There was no one in front of me, but the light was bright red and did not change to green as I drove the length of the ramp. So I began to slow down, and as I was doing so, noticed a big white truck driving up behind me. As I looked in my rear view mirror, I realized that he was actually increasing his speed as I was slowing down for the light.

Once it was clear that he wasn't going to stop, I hit the gas (thus running the red light) and narrowly avoided a collision. Two drivers who had pulled up behind us yelled and honked at him, but it wasn't apparent that he even realized what he'd done despite the cars stopped behind the light.

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A few minutes later, when the adrenaline had worn off, I got to thinking about the fact that I've seen this happen twice now with larger vehicles. Are the drivers simply not paying attention? Are these lower lights harder to spot in taller vehicles? Perhaps it's gotten to the point where--for the sake of public safety--cities need to bring in environmental psychologists to evaluate and minimize driver error by adjusting light height based on ever-increasing seat elevation. True, that idea is probably a stretch, but it does make me wonder about the on-ramp accident rate. Has this happened to anyone else?

Photo (which was later cropped/lightened) by Pink_Fish13 via Flickr.