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See the light?

Posted Thursday, July 23, 2009, at 11:36 AM

Tullahoma city administrator Jody Baltz tells that city's Lane Curlee, in a Tullahoma News column, that his "pet peeve" is people who refer to "traffic lights."

Baltz says it's "either a traffic signal or a street light."

Interesting. I always thought of them as "red lights," as in "That speeding driver ran right through that red light!"

And I've heard people call them "stop lights."

I asked eight people in the Times-Gazette office what's hanging from the wires at the intersection next to our building.

Five said "red lights," two responded "traffic signals" and one said he stops at the "light."

One of the "traffic signal" respondents said they're not "red" lights when they're showing green. Baltz would be proud.

So what do YOU stop for? (Blue lights don't count in this case...)

Showing comments in chronological order
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Interesting----In my younger years I always referred to them as "stop" lights until someone pointed out to me that was a pessimistic viewpoint. They could also be referred to as "go" lights and then in later years as "caution" lights as well. So I started calling them "traffic" lights and still today refer to them as "traffic" lights. Jody will be so "peeved" at me. By the way we used to play in the yard until the "street" lights came on.

-- Posted by leeiii on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 11:46 AM

I call them stop lights . . . never really thought about it before.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 11:48 AM

I guess one could call them Traffic Flow Regulatory And Safety Enhancement Devices. I guess. Maybe? Jody?

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 12:50 PM


-- Posted by leeiii on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 1:56 PM

I think that most people call them "stop lights" or "red lights" because they get caught by one 90% of the time. I always called them "traffic signals". I guess that is because my dad was a railroad man and everything was "signals".

-- Posted by Tyger on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 2:06 PM

Traffic control lights at intersections indicate the flow of traffic that is to pass under them. If it is red you stop. Green means pass through, and yellow does not mean speed up so you can get through it, but, use caution because you are being directed to prepare to stop. Yellow lights only appear when the light is changing from green to red UNLESS there is problem at that intersection and the yellow ligts flash in the main flow of traffic and red lights flash in the secondary flows of traffic on the secodary streets. Thats my thinking. I think I will have a soda er mmm a coke.....

-- Posted by abner_t on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 2:43 PM


-- Posted by big daddy rabbit on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 4:49 PM

I call them Darnit! when i get stopped at one when i am in a rush..

but most of the time I call them traffic regulator lights.

-- Posted by 4fabfelines on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 6:57 PM

David, How in the world do you come up with subjects like this? Now you have me asking everyone I talk to what they call those dangling lights at intersections. I have never really thought about it. Now I do.

-- Posted by cookie on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 8:24 PM

You left out one thing, cookie: What do YOU call them?

-- Posted by David Melson on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 9:47 PM

I have always called them traffic signals. They signal the traffic where to go and what to do; or so that is what I was taught.

I have noticed that depending on where you are from is what people call them. It is like soda, pop, coke, cold drink or Sun Drop. Just what you have been taught to calling it over the years.

I have never heard anyone refer to them as street lights before. That is a new one.

-- Posted by UVilleGators on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 11:15 PM

David, I call them "red lights", and maybe other names, if I happen to sail through them when they are red.

-- Posted by cookie on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 12:51 PM


-- Posted by leeiii on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 3:14 PM

Another item I just thought of. In all the driver handbooks that I've seen, for a flashing red signal, it states "danger, use extreme caution". I don't know about TN but in some states what isn't mention is that it doesn't mean stop unless there a a stop sign, also, that says "Stop when flashing".

-- Posted by Tyger on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 9:34 PM

Red lights, I'm from the old school.

-- Posted by toad on Tue, Jul 28, 2009, at 8:05 AM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.