VIEWPOINT - Turn Signals and 4 Way Flashers

SoapboxTranslink Buses

We are asked to give buses a break but the problem is that when they are parked at the curb the drivers have their 4 way flashers on. Unfortunately these 4 way flashers use the same lights as the turn signals. If there is more than one bus in the line when the driver switches from 4 way to turn signal  there is no way to tell what you are seeing.

Commercial vehicles on hills

This is a situation a friend ran into the other day.

He was passing a slow moving truck in Rogers Pass. Unfortunately another truck decided to pass at the same time and was just creeping by. Due to the speed the trucks were going both had their 4 way flashers on. When he was abreast of the landing gear on the trailer the truck he was passing started pulling into his lane. He eventually had to come to a stop to let this truck in forcing the car behind him also to stop. When the truck was in the passing lane he could see what the problem was a tow truck was picking up a broken down car. The tow truck and car were off the road but the Park Rangers had their pick-up with its red and blue lights flashing sitting half way into the right lane. The Ranger by parking how he did closed the right lane forcing everyone into the left.

Again the problem was when the driver of the truck he was passing switched from his 4 ways to turn signals there was no change. And having vision restricted by the trucks he could not see what was going on.

This is what I think could make things safer for everyone involved.

All new cars/trucks should be required to switch to where brake and hazard lights are red. Turn signals are only to be amber. This way when you see red lights flashing you know that you are looking at the 4 way flashers. When you see amber flashing it is the turn signals.

Final thought on Translink. Why do the buses use the 4 way flashers when parked at the curb? Leave these off. Brake lights are sufficient. When they are ready to proceed signal they want to move left. If they are going to continue in the curb lane why signal they want to move left. They are not changing lanes just proceeding. I want to give them the break they ask for but please eliminate the confusion on what they are doing. You are just creating a dangerous situation when you stop to let a transit bus move into your lane only to have him proceed in the curb lane.

 

Comments

Buses (doesn't look right with only two esses, does it?)

I saw another post on this and it has been one of my concerns when visiting the lower mainland.

We are asked to give busses a break but the problem is that when they are parked at the curb the drivers have their 4 way flashers on. Unfortunately these 4 way flashers use the same lights as the turn signals. If there is more than one bus in the line when the driver switches from 4 way to turn signal  there is no way to tell what you are seeing.

Final thought on Translink. Why do the busses use the 4 way flashers when parked at the curb? Leave these off. Brake lights are sufficient. When they are ready to proceed signal they want to move left. If they are going to continue in the curb lane why signal they want to move left. They are not changing lanes just proceeding. I want to give them the break they ask for but please eliminate the confusion on what they are doing. You are just creating a dangerous situation when you stop to let a transit bus move into your lane only to have him proceed in the curb lane.

I know just what you mean, about having not just one, but two buses close together - almost bumper to bumper - in the curb lane at a bus stop; I'm pretty sure that when we see them sitting there, it's because it's a timing point at the end of a route, so they're literally killing time as required, although in a traffic lane that might normally be expected to accommodate normal vehicle flow except when it doesn't.  Like, when a bus has stopped at the bus stop.  They park so close together in the certain knowledge that the lead bus will be timed to leave first, because the drivers aren't ever permitted to reverse on the street - or pretty much anywhere - so it leaves the most space available.

Normally - and I'm interpreting this from observed bus behaviour, not as a matter of solid knowledge of Translink procedures - bus drivers would signal right to pull over into a bus stop which will be in the curb lane, and keep their left foot on the right signal button as long as they're discharging/loading passengers.  Once ready to leave the stop, naturally they signal left, as required by law, to indicate their intention.  So they turn on the hazard lights as an indication of the fact that they're not actually going anywhere for a while, as a courtesy.

Intention is not a 'right'.  It could certainly be construed as a request, though.  None the less, the very first part of Section 169 predominates, this is fundamental.

With regard to the suggested change in the way the signals and brake lights are wired, I'm pretty sure there are various and numerous regulations that would prevent this (apart from the astronomical cost of retrofitting all the buses).  Something to do with flashing red lights on all corners of the vehicle only being allowed on emergency vehicles, or like that.

You mention semi trucks using

You mention semi trucks using their 4 ways when climbing a long grade. 

Why do they do this? It's not regulation, and I, as a professional driver with over 3 million miles on me, am not sure I agree with this use of 4 ways. 

To me, they are to be used when a vehicle is broken down, parked on the shoulder, posing a hazard. Because they are climbing slow, is natural, and should be expected. If a driver using his 4 ways is doing so to prevent being rear ended, that doesn't say much about traffic which overtakes him. It all boils down to the other traffic being alert, recognizing the situation at hand, and making an accurate and timely judgement of the speed differential between the truck they are overtaking and their own vehicle. 

I think if this habit was discouraged, then the only time you would see that left blinker on is when that truck is signalling his intention to occupy the next lane to the left.

just my thoughts.

James

IFIXCATS Mobile Heavy Equipment Repair.

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