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May 3, 2024 3 mins

If a traffic light seems stuck on red, you're not stuck too. Learn what's legal and what's safe to try in this episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://auto.howstuffworks.com/car-driving-safety/safety-regulatory-devices/if-light-is-stuck-on-red-are-stuck-too.htm

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Welcome to Brainstuff, a production of iHeartRadio. Hey brain Stuff,
Loren Vogel bumb Here. You pull up to a four
way stop and the light is read no big deal.
You take the opportunity to change the radio station, pick
a poppy seat out of your teeth from your morning bagel,
and wait and wait and wait. You've been here through

(00:24):
half a song already. Oh no, you realize the light
is stuck on red? Can you just go through it?
Should you turn right? Even though left is really the
way that you need to go? There are cars behind you.
Can they rat you out? Or will they go along
with your law breaking ways? Most importantly, what is the
safe move and is it the same as the legal move? Okay,

(00:49):
if the traffic lights at the intersection are working properly
in the other direction and cross traffic is still flowing
in front of you, then the electromagnetic sensor is embedded
in the pavement. Most likely haven't recogniz your car at
the light. Those sensors often extend back a bit to
detect when multiple cars are waiting, so if you're the
only car the light, that could be the issue. Usually

(01:10):
you can see the lines in the pavement where the
sensors are located, maybe you'd need to pull forward a
bit to hit them, or if they're underneath your car
and you have the space to do so, try backing
up and then drive forward over the sensors again. Engineers
say it's worth a try at least. If that doesn't work,
and you decide you've waited long enough and you're sure

(01:31):
there aren't any oncoming vehicles, you can chance it and
run the red light. But be aware. If you decide
to do this, you can be pulled over and cited
by an officer. If that happens, your best chance is
to explain what happened. The officer may check out the
light themselves and see that you're correct, or they may
deem you impatient and write up that ticket anyway. However,

(01:56):
if cross traffic isn't flowing either, both lights are probably malfunk.
In this case, it's more likely that the lights would
be flashing or completely dark, not just stuck on red
at any rate. If all traffic is stopped, you should
treat the light as a four way stop sign. But
what if you're on a two wheeled vehicle. Motorcycles and

(02:17):
mope heads run across this problem far more often, as
sensors are usually set to detect four wheeled vehicles that
weigh at least two tons. You've got a couple of
choices here. You can look for the loops embedded in
the road and roll back and forth over them to
try to trigger the light's sensor. Or you can sit
in hope that a heavier, easier to detect car comes
up behind you and does it. Those loops are electromagnetic,

(02:41):
so strapping a powerful magnet to the underside of your
motorcycle might help trip those sensors. Maybe. Of course, if
you find it's the same light that's getting you stuck
every time you ride to work, it might be best
to find another route with stop lights that are less persnicity.
In any case, keep your eyes peeled and be careful
out there. Today's episode is based on the article if

(03:08):
the light is stuck on red are you stuck to?
On how Stuffworks dot com, written by Kristen Hall Geisler.
Brain Stuff is production of iHeartRadio in partnership with how
stuffworks dot Com and is produced by Tyler Klang. For
more podcasts to my heart Radio, visit the iHeartRadio app,
Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows

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