General Question

sarahsugs's avatar

Why do street lights go out around me?

Asked by sarahsugs (2898points) December 7th, 2007

I’m not exaggerating – once or twice a week I notice a streetlight go out when I walk or drive underneath it. Last week it was almost one every day. None of the other lights nearby go out, just one. Why is this? It’s weirding me out!

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48 Answers

Zaku's avatar

I assume it is set to turn on or off based on a light sensor, and the sensor or light level is different somehow from others nearby.

Perchik's avatar

I’ve seen some lights that have motion sensors…sometimes they get installed the wrong way. Then they’re on when there’s no motion, and when there is motion, they turn off.

Or you could just be evil. I’m hoping its just weird sensors

sarahsugs's avatar

Most likely I’m just evil. Dang.

andrew's avatar

No, it’s your crazy energy field. It happens to both me and my father.

Welcome to the special club!

hossman's avatar

Somewhere I read about a study that suggested once you begin to notice such things, they draw your attention more frequently, and you begin to perceive first, a trend, then it seems to be constant. Supposedly, lights go off, crickets suddenly quiet, dogs start barking, etc., all the time, but we don’t usually notice them until it becomes a habit.

Or you’re evil.

bob's avatar

Hossman’s got a good point. And these random events have probably simply been randomly happening to you with greater frequency recently.

It’s not you. But there are lots of people who think they affect street lights: the phenomenon is called Street Light Inteference.

Cardinal's avatar

Well sarahsugs, I have noticed the exact same thing for years. Always overhead street lights. I hope you figure it out it has always seemed strange to me!! Well, bob says it is SLI everyone else says we are evil. Well, whatever!

sarahsugs's avatar

Well, I’m glad I asked. Even if I am evil, at least I get to be in a speical club with Andrew and Cardinal, and there’s a Wikipedia entry and an acronym just for us.

syz's avatar

I had always assumed that it was a heat issue – the street light reaches a certain temp. and then has to turn off to cool down.

akeil's avatar

hey… I’m in the club, too. I’m an atheist, does that have something to do with it?

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garre33's avatar

This has happened to me for years and I just assumed it was coincidence, but now EVERY time I walk by the SAME exact light down the street it goes off. I can literally count on it going out on my way past it, then when I walk back home it’s on again and goes out when I walk under it. This is seriously freaking me out.

sarahsugs's avatar

That sounds like a motion-sensor-installed-upside-down thing. Maybe you could see if it happens to other people or just you, on that particular streetlight. Or just embrace your electric aura.

beanpole13's avatar

Hi. It happens to me too. It also happens to my parents and my cousin. There is a light across the street from me that will continually turn on and off if i stand outside. When I am inside a farther away from it, it remains on. It doesn’t just happen threre or in my city. It happened in Seattle, New York City, and other places. In Seattle, I was walking downa busy street and the main overhead light turned off. It wierded my frinds out so we decided to go back around it and it turned on again. It wasn’t a motion sensor, but I can’t expalin it.

Zaku's avatar

They are light sensors, not motion sensors. You and your clothes change the brightness when you move by such a light, and its logic has it turn the light on or off based on that.

Still, automatic lights are creepy even thinking I know what their algorithm is. Motion sensor lights (and sound devices!) also make me think the people who have them at their houses are likely to be paranoid fearful types.

sarahclif's avatar

Andrew has it right – it’s a club. I got introduced to it in high school and it creeped me out for awhile and now I hardly notice it until someone else with me points it out…

PHerr's avatar

This happens to me also. At first I thought it was just that I was coincidentally passing a light on a timer, but it is too random. It is very weird.It has been happening for several years to me, but the bad thing is I am always alone when it happens. Or if someone is with me, they don’t really believe me.

Hopecrusher's avatar

The same thing has been happening to me for about 6 or 7 years! Prior to noticing the lights going out i was probably the least spiritual guy you’d ever met! I wouldnt have ever even noticed it if it hadnt happened my first night shift while walking to work and i had to pass a cemetary that was about the distance of 3 light posts! As soon as i reached the 2nd light post (middle of the cemetary) it went out, and needless to say i was spooked by it happening! The 2nd night i watched from a distance the light was on thinking no way will it go off again as i pass and it did! Ok now i was trippin! Since then i notcied it happening all over after about 3 years it wasnt just street lights anymore it was lights in the house lights in parking lots all kinds of different lights would either come on or go off that werent burnt out! The realist in me says its kind of like the movie 23 were the more i paid attention the more it consumed me, but i cant help but wonder if something is trying to tell me something it would of had to know the only way to get my attention would have been to turn the lights off at the cemetary and make sure i know it isnt a coincidence by doing it again while im paying attention!

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Rickomg's avatar

Did a little research…
This is by far the best and most comprehensive article I have found on the subject.
Check it out!

Kodybrooke's avatar

I have had this happen for a couple years also. I first noticed it with a street light in front of my house. Then more frequently with other street lights. I wasn’t sure if it was normal or not and asked a couple friends if it ever happens to them and they said it didn’t. I actually find comfort in it now for some reason. I guess I kind of feel special to be able to have such strong energy in me. I see at least one light turn off just about everyday no exaggeration.

brybry's avatar

This happens to me too, I went a step further though to verify that it’s not a fluke event.

I charted all of the streetlights that went out (that I noticed) and made a route. Then, driving by each one of them noted whether they went out or not. I had a route of four lights that went out when I drove by them. I also verified that they weren’t just intermittently going out at random 5, 10, 15 or 30 minute intervals by sitting and watching them from a “safe” distance, not too close as to make them “blow”.
None of them were just “going off” at random times, ONLY when I reached a distance where my “frequency” would “trigger” them.

It seems that the distance is a range of between 100 to 300 feet to effectively “turn them off”.

I also have EXTREME difficulty at the gas pump or any electronic device that reads a magnetic strip on a gas or credit card and 99% of the time need to “ground” myself by holding my finger on a piece of metal at the pump for the gas card to read correctly. If I don’t, I get the error >“Can’t read card, please try again”. When I ground with my finger it works every time.

When I am at the grocery store items also “pop” off the shelf without me even touching them, that one I can’t explain. The others I attribute to electromagnetics.
The streetlights seem to be the old phosphorous type and the new yellow ones (which they are going to be replacing with the old types again, YEAH!) I seem not to have an effect on.

I have also parked the vehicle at a distance and even walked to the nearest light which is in my neighborhood and they also trigger on foot, so no lights from the vehicle can be taken into consideration as a possible trigger.

Suffice to say It’s reasonable to expect that individuals whom are capable of triggering these lights off would have a higher than average reading on a magnometer.

I also expect that those who are capable of this are also on “radar” when they visit Las Vegas casinos as I’m pretty sure they have equipment that scans people when they come through the casino doors for any magnetic altering devices and they just “naturally” show up as a “false positive” (but it’s not really false!).

I can’t wait to have the new white lights with my virtual switch!

the100thmonkey's avatar

Have you considered the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon?

Maybe you notice it happening because you’ve noticed it happen before. I think this was what Hossman is talking about in post #5

bg198721's avatar

Ok everyones answer seams reasonable but i have been having lights go out all the time around me lamps, streetlights, Exit sighs I also (not All the time) but i get this feeling and my phone goes to ringing) Of course soneones on the other end. for example ill be driving and ill pick up my phone (cuz i get that felling)and it rings . its starting to freak me out i told my mother and she said it an angel, that its useing the entergy around me but Hell if i know.

Val123's avatar

Happens to me to. It’s kinda freaky!

Whitley's avatar

The internet is AMAZING..I found this website the 1st time I put in this EXACT question! Whoa (why am I not surprised…at all?!!!) Lights go out around me ALL the time. And if it was a motion sensor…they would go out one at a time as I go by..they are so random. When I’m walking, driving, sitting at a drive ut window at a fastfood’s been SO MUCH lately that I’m starting to wonder “WHAT??? What is it that someone wants me to know? WHAT?????” so that’s why I’m here…maybe HERE is the answer! The numbers 44 and 444 and 111 come up a lot too. And guess which number president mr. Obama is? 44! tons of 444 license plates and phone numbers in front of me contantly too… and it’s not just because I notice THEM…they are in front of my face all the time…even exit numbers when I look up as a passenger in a car…or mile marker…it’s just too strange. Anyway…I have a lot of electronics go wacky on me…my laptop or computer will act up for me but as soon as I hand it to my boyfriend or he takes over…it’s all fine (grrrrrrr!) I DO believe we exude an energy field and depending on how strong tha field is I think it would surely affect electronic fields around you. Would love to hear what others think!
Great site by the way…. gotta love the WORLD WIDE web!

obij's avatar

This also happens to me. So it might be coincidence or lights on a timer but can anyone tell me why the lights always go OUT when I drive by, but they NEVER turn on?

dwdupont's avatar

Bizarre, this happens to me to.

ppatel26's avatar

I hit a new record of 4 lights today in a 10 minute time period. It’s been happening so often but I thought it was just a coincidence. Which it still could be. This is the first time I’ve ever tried looking something up. And I’ve read almost all of the comments, and the topic of a motion sensor doesn’t really work out for me because I drive through St. Louis and the streets are always busy. So…why does it only turn off when I’m about to pass it and not for the person 20 cars ahead of me? But, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. :)

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breedmitch's avatar

This is the ultimate Fluther question. This is the one that should be on the backs of the t-shitrs…

JJOkey01's avatar

haha, the real reason is the resistance in the light. As they get older and lose resistance they over heat and shut off automatically. As they get older and older and wear out more the resistors in the lamps go out more and more. It is really just coincidence. I promise! lol I had a light outside of my house in Louisville that would constantly go out and come back on. You can set it by your watch. :) I am a firm believer in spirituality and energy. I used to be a very strong christian. I do believe in logic. Please e-mail me with a question. I love discussions! I literally mean discussions too. I don’t like to argue. We are all learning something new every day. I love learning and I TRY to be unbiased as much as possible, but we are all a little biased ourselves. I don’t state what I say as FACT but what I personally KNOW. If I’m wrong I will admit it.

P.S. I went to Mechanical Engineering school and I was an electrician. I do have a knowledge in this field. Next time a light shuts off on you, if you have the time, sit there and wait for it to come back on. Time it. If you believe in “energy fields” or an aura as I call it….then sit down in a meditative state with your finger tips together and focus your energy between your hands. You’ll feel the magnetism and if you’re sensitive enough you’ll almost see the electricity between your fingers. CRAZY!

jstnryn24's avatar

I just started typing things, different things that have happened to me throughout the years and was amazed to find this site. I have had street lights do this whenever i go under them turn out and ive always noticed it weather im out driving or riding with someone else and never thought much of it to be honest, ive always just passed it off as a coincidence and nothing more but im very curious to know and understand why this happens.

Michael333's avatar

This is quite old but as I experienced this streetlight phenomenon for about 30 years in different countries, I have to write something.
I experienced this not only with street lights, but also with shopfront windows halogens, neon tubes in underground railway stations (and not because of failure, they would start flickering regularly minutes after standing underneath, as if receiving some sort of impulse), I did some research and found nothing reliable as explanation. The old bulbs aging and overheating may be one, personally, I don’t buy it.
Different streetlights in 3 different towns around Paris (France) were going out invariably on me until mid-august this year (2010), then it stopped.Totally. I’ve been watching around ever since, not a single flickering as far as streetlights can be seen in streets, roads freeways. I am sorry for Mr Engineer, they haven’t replaced ALL bulbs at once, in three towns not even close to one another. Impossible.
If aging bulbs were the real cause, there would be anyway some other lights going out here and there. Also sensors in the street where I live can’t be involved: there aren’t any. Streetlight is regulated by timers. In some streets, when sensors are used, only a single one will trigger a whole range of lights.
As disturbing, crazy, incredible as it can sound, I recommend people to do some search and give some thoughts to was they will find. See this It’s not related to this SLI phenomenon, but who knows what kind of research is done at the moment behind the scenes that could be the real cause…
If someone can prove me wrong, I will reconsider my mental sanity.

kellis's avatar

I am very glad I found this website. This started happening to me about 6 years ago, and it got so intense I even told my friends about it, and then they couldn’t believe how many times they’ve witnessed it occur. Something I can be driving down a street, and there will be three in a row that will go out, right as I am underneath them. It happens so often to me, I am now used to it. Whats crazy, is i can even tell someone about it, and then it will happen right then in front of both of our eyes. But after all these years, I want to know, why is this happening? Who is trying to tell me something if someone? I need answers! But hey, glad we can all relate :) I agree with whitley, thank God for the world wide web!

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alynn35's avatar

That happens to me and my son a lot also, I even had this experience at a grocery store a few times where I would walk down the frozen aisle and the lights in the freezers would turn off as I walked past…..I chalked it up to coincedence at first and when it happened again didn’t know what to think. It has not happened for a long time now except for the street light thing.

Rickomg's avatar

One time when I was at the height of a Super Pissed off Moment (My Car had been wrongly towed, I was out of town and completely Screwed!) I was by myself walking down the Street and hit a high point of Anger/Rage/Insanity… and literally… ALL the street lights within a block or two radius went out all at the same time. Totally freaked me out! They acted like the light sensor (which was at the very top of each one of them and no way within my Physical reach) had been tripped or something because they all started up back up flickering and coming on like it was just then dusk. It was 11pm! I also find that when I am really in a good place and I am thinking a lot. it happens more and more… while driving… while walking down the street at night…even funnier I always look directly at them the instant before they go out…

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snowvewhite's avatar

i’m not sure if anyone can give me a nice simple “sane” explanation. But streetlights have always switched off when i walk by – different times of the day, different cities and for many years. I’ve always thought it was kind of cool. However lately things are a little weirder. For example at work we just had all the flourescent lighting replaced (about 2 weeks ago) when i went in this morning and stood under the one by the cash, it made a sparking sound and fizzed off (bad installment i thought) And then when my boss came in, for some reason his laptop went on the fritz and lost all current info as well as the printer, which we always use, just wouldn’t function no matter what we did. Not to mention i went to make a purchase with my debit card and it completedly shut the debit system down and had to restart itself. once it restarted i tried to insert it again (chip method) and it wouldn’t accept it. I jokingly said watch i’ll go home and all will be fine. I came home turned my kitchen light on which promptly went off, then went into the bathroom turned the light on and within 5 min it also went off. Then the weirdest thing, my boss sent me a msg that as soon as i left the flourescent light came back on at work and his computer is working just fine and dandy as is the printer. Also should note that i can wear a watch for about 3 weeks before the battery dies and have to recharge my cell phone batter (even a new phone) much more often than other people. Any ideas anyone??

DocNotorius's avatar

Yeah, it’s not a coincidence, random occurrence or a faulty motion sensor. This has been happening to me since I was a teenager, 30 years ago, always the same series lights—so dependably that I can show people with me the light and as we approach, whether on foot or in a car, it will flicker off, or in some cases, a light that is off will flicker on. Oddly, for me anyway, it is only street lights and doesn’t seem to be related to any other electronics. I don’t know about supernatural phenomenon, but I always figured it had something to do with a strong electromagnetic field around me or the light had a heat sensor. But the heat sensor thing never made sense since it would happen in or out of a car.

Lorilou's avatar

This ABSOLUTELY happens and it’s no coincidence! When my husband & I got engaged in NYC, as we walked past them, every streetlight went out. After counting more then a dozen, we stopped counting! That was 12 years ago & it still happens to me regularly, at least a few times a week. And incidentally, in more recent years I have had some crazy things happen! Like, for instance, my brother-in-law died unexpectedly & very tragically, and would come to me in dreams with messages for his widow, and the information given to me by him were private matters that I had no previous knowledge of. (This is called dream visits). Also, I run my own company, and most recently, I will dream that a particular customer calls with an issue & that same customer calls the next day with a problem! That has happened four times now with four different customers. It is no coincidence, so for those of you who can affect streetlights, you may be capable of more!

Rickomg's avatar

Lorilou, You are def spot on in your thoughts that we are capable of a lot more. The truth is we and those like us, with these type of ability’s, are simply alot more aware of our surroundings than most out there. I find more people with their head stuck in the proverbial sand than I find those like us. I find other small things Like 95% of the time always getting the first or second Parking spot on the first lane I pull into (no time driving around waiting for something to open) I literally put the (?!?good parking spot?!?) impulse out there and then let my attention guide me… which row pulls my attention the most and I follow it. My son is so used to it, he gives me a hard time when I’m in the 5% zone when I don’t pull it off, having a bad day or my head “ain’t right” lol (upset or distracted on something). Oh and other things like driving on the highway slow drivers in front of you !UGH! no worries the more you stress the more you pull in that negativity, just calmly put your attention Not on the driver that’s slowing you down but put all of your attention on the space in front of him/her. If you target the driver ahead they can be “stubborn/spacey/rude/not listening/unaware” whatever. So put it in front of them. a simple thought like “I wana be there.” or “I like that area up there! May I?” If funny the second you do this without the stress is the second they look up at their rear view mirror, hit their turn signal and get out of your way. On the flip side to that when I am stressed out or late or feeling put out, I will pull in some of the Stupidest the most ridiculous crap known to man. I mean everybody HAS to be in my way. LOL The correlation of my attitude is in direct synchronization with my stress level at the time. So before I start the car I take a breath and think about my destination and try to get in a good mood about it. It usually goes well from that point out. :) Thanks for replying to this post.

Randcvn's avatar

I’ve had this happen to me since I was in my teens. I am currently experiencing it with a street light that my husband and I walk by on our evening walks. He’s the one who remarks on it, because I’m so used to it that it’s no longer of interest to me.

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