Bahrain’s Traffic Lights are Dangerous

M

arch 22, 2017

Last night I was involved in a crash on the Hidd highway. I had a choice of breaking hard when the traffic lights changed, which resulted in a car behind driving into me, or continue driving but know I’d be flashed and fined even though I was driving within the speed limit.

There is a well established and internationally applied science to the calibration of traffic lights (see link below) which enables improved road safety, optimal traffic flow, and reduced fuel consumption and emissions.

Like many in Bahrain I originally supported the installation of cameras because I believed it would actually lead to safer roads, but many traffic lights are dangerous because timings between amber and red are not calibrated to allow drivers to safely travel within signaled speed limits without having to emergency brake, yet technology exists to make this unnecessary.

Some say cameras are only to make money. I hope this isn’t true and its just that decision makers at the Traffic Dept have been badly advised and are unaware of internationally recognized and applied technical safety standards.

The current system is dangerous, inefficient, and forces drivers, fearing fines, to develop habits of braking or accelerating when approaching lights which when adopted by enough drivers results in hazardous driving conditions and, on busy roads, congestion.

Speed limits in developed countries focus on managing traffic flow (and emissions) ensuring traffic lights are set so drivers can drive within given speed limits without being forced to ever brake hard at junctions to comply with the law.

Fortunately no-one was hurt in last night’s collision, just two damaged cars and some mind-numbing bureaucracy and ‘paperwork’ hassles, but unless Bahrain’s traffic lights are correctly calibrated asap there will be more stress on the roads, more needless crashes, and people will be injured, even killed.

For an authoritative and in-depth study on the benefits of re-timing traffic signals visit: http://www.spcregion.org/downloads/ops/Other%20Studies/BenefitsofRetimingTrafficSignals.pdf

I welcome the opportunity to speak with someone at the Traffic Dept to explain what happened in my own case from yesterday.

By Nick Cooksey, Publisher, Gulf Insider.

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