Should we bring timers at traffic lights in the Netherlands?

Should we bring timers at traffic lights in the Netherlands?

To rein in or not, that is the question. When the traffic light in front of you suddenly turns orange, do you risk or choose to pedal the brake? It looks like a timer can help with that. Researchers at Oregon State University I looked at the timer effect that appears when the traffic light finally turns red. Such a timer seems to increase road safety.

The researchers got 55 participants to sit in a simulator. They asked participants to digitally drive through intersections where the traffic lights had turned orange. In the first case there is no timer. In the second case, the watch counts down the last ten seconds until it turns red. So you see exactly how long you can keep driving.

Traffic light adjusters are safer in the short term

The research shows that countdown clocks at intersections ensure that one can make a better estimate using orange and red light. With the timer at a traffic light, 13 percent more people decided to stop. At the same time, people who applied the brakes, stepped on the brake pedal with less force. So they brake less suddenly, which is safer.

But in the long run?

a new search From Safety Research Journal From last month it confirms the positive results, but it has an important caveat. If the meters are placed at traffic lights, driving will be reduced in red.

But after a while, drivers seem to get used to the timers and are likely to accelerate hard to quickly pick up the orange traffic light. The number of accidents also increases after a while. So these researchers advise against setting timers.

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Which one do you prefer?

By the way, there is another type of timer in the traffic light. This counts down until it turns green, so you can actually switch to one and release the handbrake (you can sometimes see it outside, but you can also find one in Rotterdam).

There is also a risk associated with this. There will be drivers who will go a second or two early on the clock. If another driver accelerates and picks up the dark orange, those drivers will meet at the intersection. See how this is a problem.

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