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charliecompany34's avatar

What are possible warning signs we can give oncoming traffic unaware of gridlock ahead?

Asked by charliecompany34 (7785points) October 10th, 2010

a driver in the opposite direction is driving with his lights off at night, so you flash your beams and he gets the message. “duh, i forgot to turn on my headlights—thanks bro.”

what possible warning sign can we give drivers speeding along without a care in the world, going in the other direction, that you just saw a major traffic accident about a mile back and they are about to be very unhappy.

any ideas?

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21 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

I don’t what what possible warning sign could be given. I wish there was one. I just think “Jeez, you poor suckers, you have no idea what’s coming up ahead,” silently offer then my condolences and just keep driving on my, thankfully, unjammed side of the highway.

charliecompany34's avatar

@lillycoyote i know! and the bad part about it, you just sort of sailed by on the other side, but man you want to say something.

i look in the little cars in the other direction, people going and talking on their cells, expecting to be there in a few minutes. they just dont know.

jerv's avatar

Where I come from an oncoming car flashing it;s brights generally means that there is something up ahead that you may not want any part of.

I’ve got that signal for speed traps, washed out bridges, car accidents, downed trees, and just about everything except my headlights being off (though I’ve occasionally got it for having my high beams on; failure to dim was a $72 ticket then/there).

Maybe it;s a regional thing since people here in Seattle don’t seem to understand any of the controls on their vehicle.

AmWiser's avatar

Unfortunately there aren’t enough digital road signs to warn of impending traffic jams or accidents ahead. When I commuted to work (100 miles each way), I missed a lot of serious stuck in traffic time by listening to a very good radio station that reported traffic every 10 minutes. They had commuters who would call in when at the first sign of an accident or anything they thought would be holding up traffic. Too bad not everyone else listened to them.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I usually just hope they have some sort of GPS warning them of traffic jams.

lillycoyote's avatar

@jerv Where I come from the flashing headlights generally mean speed trap ahead and that’s about it, it’s not generic. The trouble with that is that you can generally deal with that by just slowing down. How would you communicate to a driver: “3 hour traffic delay ahead. Exit the freeway/interstate at the next possible opportunity!”

lillycoyote's avatar

@papayalily My GPS has a traffic jam warning system built into it, at least it claims to, I’ve just never found it to be very accurate.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@lillycoyote I use Google Maps. I check it before I head out during rush hour, and occasionally at long stop lights to make sure nothing’s coming up.

jerv's avatar

@lillycoyote That is what 530AM is for in Seattle.
Of course, a lot of times it’s just common sense. For instance, if you want to use I-5 Northbound in the afternoon, South in the Morning, or the region around Northgate any time of day then you’re boned. That goes double for SR-99/Evergreen Way/Aurora Ave.

The Android has a navigation app called Waze that has that sort of up-to-the-minute stuff, but as it is an early version and not widely adopted, it isn’t as effective as it could be. It’s a pity since it seems like exactly the sort of thing all GPS units should be like.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I always wanted a honk pattern for “im sorry” I mean think about we have the fuck you <honnnnnnnnkkkkkkkkkk> and the “hey whats up” <beep beep> but not “im sorry” after you accidentally cut someone off or something. I really think that would help alleviate a lot of road rage

john65pennington's avatar

It’s almost impossible to warn cars of a traffic crash ahead, if they are in the opposite lane. going 70 plus mph, most people are focused on the road ahead of them, rather than the vehicles on the opposite side of the interstate and rightly so.

This situation, you have described, is really in the hands of the vehicles ahead of the other vehicle, on the opposite side of the interstate. to turn on your emergency flashers is the best idea of all. when people see the flashing lights on your vehicle, instinct tells them to slow down, that there is danger ahead.

YARNLADY's avatar

Just about the only thing you can do is blink your headlights. There are some radio stations that ask for callers, and it might be possible to have a number for the highway department on your phone to ask them to take care of it.

lillycoyote's avatar

@jerv Yes, that’s kind of the case anywhere. I-95 traffic between Philly and Baltimore has its predictable ebb and flow, as does the Delaware summer beach traffic. That you can deal with. But sometimes it doesn’t take a whole lot to bring traffic on I-95 to a screeching halt. Sometimes all it takes is a little rubbernecking. That accident or hold up doesn’t even need to be on your side of the highway, there just needs to be enough people who slow down a bit to stare at it and then your side of the highway is all jammed up. A little construction and a minor fender bender can jam it all up very quickly. The GPS just doesn’t seem sprightly enough to deal with that sort of thing. And @papayalily, checking something like Google Maps ahead of time is fine under some circumstances, but if you’ve got an 8 hour or so drive up or down I-95 that’s not really much of a help. And sometimes there’s just no way you’re going to get through or by Philly, or Baltimore or D.C. without getting screwed. You can do your best to avoid rush hours, but as I said, I doesn’t always take much to screw up traffic completely on I-95.

JLeslie's avatar

Yeah, I don’t know of any signal. Flashing beams means speed trap ahead to me. From what I understand if a cop catches you warning about a speed trap you can get a ticket. Is that true?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@JLeslie But how would they know? Can’t you be flicking your lights for any number of reasons? And wouldn’t all of those be local laws, not federal?

downtide's avatar

In the UK it’s become customary to briefly put your hazard warning lights on (both side indicators flashing together) to warn traffic coming up behind you that what is in front of you is stationary. It’s not much use for warning oncoming traffic though, because then it would confuse the traffic behind.

JLeslie's avatar

@papayalily I would assume it is local laws. I have never heard of someone actually getting a ticket for doing it. I guess if the cops stake out a quarter mile in front of the speed trap they could vatch people doing it. I guess it would be their word against the cop maybe? You’re probably right that it is hard to prove why the person is flashing their lights, but I think we all know what is really happening.

In the end they should be happy people are slowing down to begin with, but really they want the money from the citations I would think. Although, of course sometimes traps are set up because there have been accidents due to high speeds.

On a 6 lane road near where I lived the speed limit was 50. It was easy to drive faster. Few lights, and the streets was a straight line, very few cross streets, although there was one “hill” where the road went over the Turnpike. One day there was a horrible accident, the driver was estimated to be driving upwards of 80, and ran a red light crashing into a car that had entered the intersection killing 6 people. It was horrible. I remember thinking to myself, I bet the driver is just some guy who is driving too fast. Turned out he was the husband of someone I had worked with. Meanwhile, the outrage in the community caused the speed limit to be lowered. It pissed me off. It is almost impossible to drive much slower on that road, you could fall asleep from boredom, or get home and yell at your spouse out of frustration. What does this guy driving 80 have to do with a 50 MPH speed limit? I would have much preferred they set up some speed traps and get people to obey the law as is.

GracieT's avatar

@papayaily, checking Google Maps is a good idea, but aren’t the maps a few hours old by the time they are put on it? If not, thanks for the idea! It’ll help during my drives across the city!

jerv's avatar

@GracieT They are a little dated sometimes, but usually not by more than about 30 minutes

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