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Los Pollos Hermanos
05-29-2016, 04:45 PM
Hello (again) and happy Sunday!

Whilst the crime trilogy is away being proofread, I'm also having another read over it and looking for inconsistencies, overuse of certain words, etc.

In the UK we call that trio of red, amber and green lights at junctions (intersections) and pedestrian crossings (crosswalks) traffic lights. However, I've seen them referred to as stoplights (stop lights?) in American sources. I've done some googling and can find no definitive answer.

Now and again, I refer to such lights in the narrative and my characters occasionally mention them. Not an issue for the NW England-based parts of the story! Most of the US-based action is set around Denver (and elsewhere in Colorado), Lake Tahoe, New York and Los Angeles and I'm aware that, just like in the UK, there's regional variation in terminology (and slang) in the US.

So... pretty please could some of you nice folk from the sunnier side of the Pond tell me which term I should use and/or if it varies in my different locations?

Big thanks in anticipation,

LPH.

Bren McDonnall
05-29-2016, 05:09 PM
Generally in this area, they're called traffic lights, or traffic signals, or just "set of lights".

As an example, giving directions. "you go down this street to the second set of lights and turn left two blocks. Turn right at the first set of lights, and etc..."

Down south and in the midwest, I've heard stop light far more often, but there's a lot of cross pollination.

We also have four way stoplights, or two way stoplights, and these are always stoplights because they're just red flashing lights with no other options. Like a stop sign with a good publicity agent.

Los Pollos Hermanos
05-29-2016, 05:18 PM
Cheers for the info. Here we seem to refer to them as "the lights" when mentioning them in context (e.g. giving directions or grumbling about a journey). "The lights turned red just before I got there." I'd always write them as "traffic lights" in more formal writing though.

Do you say "amber" or "yellow" for the middle one, btw?

Jeneral
05-29-2016, 05:23 PM
I usually say "stoplight," and for reference I grew up in the South, but "traffic light" makes sense to me, and I didn't even really think of it as a British expression until just now. But if I'm giving directions, it's usually just "light." "Turn right, and then at the second light turn left." The ones that flash I call a "flashing light," which I guess isn't very imaginative of me.

And I say "yellow." Haven't heard anyone in the US call it amber.

Maryn
05-29-2016, 05:26 PM
FWIW, where I used to live they had flashing red lights that served the same function as a stop sign but were far more visible. Those are stoplights. The term has bled over to also mean the three-color traffic light, but some readers may envision the traditional red-only stoplight if you use the term.

We usually just call the three-color kind "the light." Go down Elm Street past the big church to the light, then turn right. I call the middle light yellow, because I run the yellow all the damned time.

Maryn, slower reflexes her excuse

Los Pollos Hermanos
05-29-2016, 05:27 PM
Amber must be a UK thing. I suspected as much from what little I have managed to glean.

Speech isn't too much of a problem. I've generally stuck with "stoplight" in the narrative, but the little nagging voice started mumbling this morning. Believe it or not, the damn things feature prominently a few times in the story!

Cheers...

Roxxsmom
05-29-2016, 05:55 PM
Hello (again) and happy Sunday!

Whilst the crime trilogy is away being proofread, I'm also having another read over it and looking for inconsistencies, overuse of certain words, etc.

In the UK we call that trio of red, amber and green lights at junctions (intersections) and pedestrian crossings (crosswalks) traffic lights. However, I've seen them referred to as stoplights (stop lights?) in American sources. I've done some googling and can find no definitive answer.

Here in northern California, both terms--traffic light and stop light--get used, but traffic light is a bit more common, I think. Maybe older people use stop light more? The term traffic signal gets used too, though that's more by official sources. Signs will say "signal ahead," for instance.

In the western US, we use the term "yellow light" to refer to the color a traffic light turns for a few seconds before it goes to red. We don't have a yellow light before it goes to green here (I remember they did when I was in the UK). It just goes from red to green.

mpack
05-29-2016, 07:14 PM
To add an extra wrinkle, in the Deep South the term is often "red light" to refer to the traffic signal (not just to the top light.)

I think both stop light and traffic light would be generally understood, and I hear both of those in western Canada.

CindyGirl
05-29-2016, 09:19 PM
On the east coast I've used and heard most of the terms listed above: the light, the red light, the stop light, the traffic light. I tend to use the light or the stop light myself.

cmhbob
05-29-2016, 09:40 PM
Raised in Ohio, now in Oklahoma.

Fro directions, I'll just say "the light." If I'm talking about being stopped at a light, I might say "traffic light," but again, I usually just say "light," because what other light would I be stopped at while driving?

blacbird
05-29-2016, 11:01 PM
Neither term would cause me, as reader, to blink. Both usages are common, and interchangeable.

caw

cornflake
05-29-2016, 11:19 PM
Interchangeable, in the Northeast US in my experience, though just stoplight and traffic light (sometimes just 'light' in directions -- 'make a left at the first light.'). I don't hear 'red light' for a three-colour traffic light.

Definitely yellow in the U.S.

shadowwalker
05-29-2016, 11:20 PM
We use "traffic" or "stop" lights randomly (upper Midwest). Officially, it's an amber light (all safety ads and brochures in the state use amber) but most folks say yellow light. Again useage is rather random, so I wouldn't worry about which you use or consistancy.

Siri Kirpal
05-30-2016, 04:04 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I've been known to call the middle light amber (because it is), but if I run it, I've run through a yellow light.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Los Pollos Hermanos
05-30-2016, 02:06 PM
Thanks for the all goodies. If I have to refer to it as more than a "light" I'll make sure I use "traffic light" as it works on both sides of the water. It doesn't crop up often, but there are a couple of significant scenes involving these, shall we say. I can't recall if amber/yellow gets mentioned - don't think so.

:Hug2:

Bren McDonnall
05-30-2016, 03:51 PM
I've never heard it called amber. Always yellow, although certain segments of the society sometimes refer to them as "the go fast light".

MythMonger
05-30-2016, 06:47 PM
I always refer to it as a yellow light, but my 18 YO daughter calls it "orange." Don't know if that's a generational thing or not.

Orianna2000
05-31-2016, 08:07 AM
I call them "lights" or "stoplights." I might get specific and say, "the green light" or "the red light," depending on what color the light actually is when we approach it. The middle light is yellow, not amber. Amber is what they call an alert for a missing or kidnapped child, so it might get confusing.

If it matters, I'm from California, but have lived in several western and southern US states at various points in my life. Currently residing in Tennessee, aka the South. I've visited London, Edinburgh, and Cardiff, and was terrified the entire time that my husband drove on the wrong side of the road. I was, however, quite impressed by the zebra crossings (we don't have those) and the fact that stoplights turn yellow to warn you before the green light.

atthebeach
05-31-2016, 08:54 AM
Stoplight, traffic light, and in directions "take a right at the first light". Lived on West coast and southern USA.

I know the middle light is amber, but never call it that, same as the consensus. "I ran a red light" or "the light turned yellow so I sped up". Not that I speed up on yellow or anything, because that would be wrong, uh yeah... :)

cornflake
05-31-2016, 09:12 AM
I call them "lights" or "stoplights." I might get specific and say, "the green light" or "the red light," depending on what color the light actually is when we approach it. The middle light is yellow, not amber. Amber is what they call an alert for a missing or kidnapped child, so it might get confusing.

If it matters, I'm from California, but have lived in several western and southern US states at various points in my life. Currently residing in Tennessee, aka the South. I've visited London, Edinburgh, and Cardiff, and was terrified the entire time that my husband drove on the wrong side of the road. I was, however, quite impressed by the zebra crossings (we don't have those) and the fact that stoplights turn yellow to warn you before the green light.

There aren't zebra crossings in CA? I can't recall from when I was last there, but that's so weird. They're certainly all over the Northeast.

Los Pollos Hermanos
05-31-2016, 02:56 PM
I've never heard people say yellow light over here, but that's not to say people don't. "Went through on amber/red" or "ran a red light" is what you'd hear over here.

The best way to get over the wrong side of the road fear is to do the driving! My first attempt was in 2009, in a manual car in Switzerland, which was a pain in the arse because I could never find the gearstick with my left hand - haha! I've driven in the US four times (covering about 25,000 miles) and Canada once and much prefer the automatic as you only need to concentrate on starting and stopping, rather than gear changes.

The first time I drove in the US was in Colorado in 2010. I even booked a driving lesson in an automatic car a week before going as I'd never driven one before. In the UK if you pass your driving test in an automatic you're legally not allowed to drive a manual, but if you pass in a manual you can legally drive both. Most people here have manuals as they're cheaper to buy and drink less juice. The driving instructor said he gets 1-2 people a month doing the same as I did and, being a regular visitor to Florida, gave me some handy US driving tips. When plotting routes or "driving" on Streetview, I always imagine myself driving on the right, so much so that I confuse myself when checking out places in the UK!

I call the first part of the drive on the wrong side ten minutes of terror. Sweaty palms, breathing too fast, wondering if I'm mad, etc. I sit in the lot for five minutes prior to setting off, familiarise myself with the car being "back to front" and visualise how I'll turn onto the main road. After ten minutes all is peachy, although I have to talk myself through turning left (equivalent to how we'd turn right) for a day or two. No music for the first few hours driving. Roundabouts (traffic circles?) scare me as you don't encounter them often in the US - even if they're small I just can't get past that I'm driving around them anticlockwise (counter clockwise), which is just plain wrong ;) .

What's weird is that in the US I'm fine in a car doing looking left-right-left before pulling out, but on foot I cannot get past right-left-right like we do at all times in the UK. It's like a mental block. I freaked out the owner of a petrol/gas station in small-town Utah when I walked round to the right to get in the car, after three weeks and thousands of miles of driving. I'm absolutely fine once in the car though!

Another weird thing is parking lots. For about two weeks in the US I have to concentrate not to drive on the left in them, even though I'm fine on the road. Then when I get back to the UK I'm fine on the road (after one scary drive and getting used to using gears again), and then spend about a month trying not to drive on the right in our car parks.

Right on red... what a marvellous idea. I'll admit to being cynical pre-2010, but am fully converted. There's no way left on red would work here though, there's too many rude motorists who think red lights are optional at the best of times.

I knew the directions terminology from my crash course in US English (four books comparing our respective versions of the lingo and four recent visits). We'd say "turn left", whereas in the US it's "make/take a left".

I prefer pelican crossings as cars have to stop:
https://www.trafficchoices.co.uk/images/schemes/pelican_crossing.jpg

Don't like these optional for cars zebra versions as much:
http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/thisdayintech/2011/10/zebra_crossing_630px.jpeg

In the UK you wait at a zebra for the cars to stop, which seems sensible. I noticed in Switzerland and in many of the 18 US states I've visited the car only stops if the pedestrian steps out onto the crossing. As both a driver and pedestrian this induces laxative effects. The former because you can't look for where you need to go in town or find a parking spot in case you run over someone. The latter because if the approaching driver doesn't spot you you're potentially brown bread (translate that!) abroad.

I remember trying to use this crossing in San Francisco in summer 2011:
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@37.8052858,-122.4471898,3a,75y,181.3h,77.15t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1spF8RjcahGLgQ32DRpgmIbw!2e0!7i1 3312!8i6656!6m1!1e1?hl=en
Visibility to the right is poor, most the approaching cars were speeding and there was no way anyone dared risk stepping out. Most of us (unknown to each other) decided just to walk ten minutes to the next set of lights and then walk back. Much as I like my trips to Switzerland and the south western(ish) US, I deeply dislike each country's zebra crossings.

Orianna2000
05-31-2016, 05:31 PM
Cornflake, in the US, we don't call them zebra crossings. At least, I've never heard anyone call them that. They're crosswalks, and they work a little differently. In the UK, as far as I recall, cars HAVE to stop for you if you're in the zebra crossing. They even have flashing lights to warn drivers that someone is crossing, which I think is brilliant. Here, we have a law that says you must stop if someone's in the crosswalk, but no one ever actually bothers to stop for pedestrians--not unless you're right in front of their car and they can't proceed without hitting you. They'll impatiently wait for you to get out of the way, but they won't wait for you to reach the other sidewalk before hitting the gas.

Los Pollos, for me, the opposite is true. I have such anxiety over driving, it would NOT have been safe for me to get behind the wheel in the UK. Plus, I'm not supposed to drive for medical reasons (I fall asleep unexpectedly, even while engaged in activities. I've fallen asleep while typing emails, waking up to a screen full of gibberish. I've fallen asleep while standing up, teaching a sewing class. It's not safe for me to drive!), so I haven't driven in more than 15 years. The last time I tried to drive was about 8 years ago, right after we bought a car with a manual transmission and my husband decided to try and teach me how to drive it. I got so overwhelmed with the clutch, and shifting gears, and the fact that if I did it wrong, I could potentially ruin the transmission . . . I pretty much had a panic attack within 60 seconds of getting in the driver's seat and had to stop the lesson.

Being a passenger while my husband was on the wrong side of the road was scary enough. I kept having to warn him, "Drifting! DRIFTING!" as he would lose concentration and start heading for the opposite side of the road. Plus, I was sitting in what was, for me, the driver's seat, since their steering wheels are reversed. That was anxiety-inducing. But, what was really cool about the experience--aside from seeing the gorgeous Scottish countryside--our rental car had an awesome feature that you don't see over here. The windshield wipers were automatic! By "automatic," I mean, they sensed when it started raining and turned themselves on. And when it started raining harder, they increased their speed. I've no idea how it works, but it's genius! Wish we had those here. (If we do, I've never seen it.)

King Neptune
05-31-2016, 05:34 PM
I think that the use of "amber" for the middle light has mostly died. They used to be called amber most of the time, but now it's: "Floor it on the yellow."

cmhbob
05-31-2016, 07:44 PM
Orianna, I think it's an option on some of the higher-end European makes, but yeah, it's not standard over here, yet.

Re "orange" lights. The only time I've heard "orange" used is as a euphemism for going through the light as it changed from yellow to red, meaning you should have stopped.

And then there's this scene from 1984's Starman: https://youtu.be/XX9ijD-0Rw4

Dave Williams
06-02-2016, 06:42 AM
To add an extra wrinkle, in the Deep South the term is often "red light" to refer to the traffic signal (not just to the top light.)

The top light isn't always red. There's no regulation that says they have to be, and a couple of towns in my state have the red light at the bottom, as their police officers informed me while writing me a ticket.

Yes, it makes perfect sense to code a vital safety signal in colors that 15% of males can't distinguish between...

Also, some areas like the stylish horizontal light racks. And there might be half a dozen lights there, sometimes in two rows. Texas in infected with the nasty things. No, I have no idea which side might be "red" and which might be "green."

Dave Williams
06-02-2016, 06:46 AM
in the US ... crosswalks, and they work a little differently.

That varies considerably by state. In mine, a pedestrian in a crosswalk has absolute right of way. But if they walk out onto the road anywhere else, they're roadkill. Local law *used to* give pedestrians right of way everywhere, but that changed a couple of decades ago.

We have a military base nearby; it's always easy to tell when they rotate a new batch of people in. No, pedestrians and bicycles don't have right of way here...

cmhbob
06-02-2016, 07:17 AM
The top light isn't always red. There's no regulation that says they have to be, and a couple of towns in my state have the red light at the bottom, as their police officers informed me while writing me a ticket.

I'm not sure that's true. The Federal Highway Administration puts out the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, and I'm pretty sure that directs red on top. http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/knowledge/faqs/faq_part4.htm#tcsgq2

Then again, I'm not sure what the consequences are of not adopting it. Texas didn't, but here's info: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/state_info/texas/tx.htm

cornflake
06-02-2016, 08:05 AM
Cornflake, in the US, we don't call them zebra crossings. At least, I've never heard anyone call them that. They're crosswalks, and they work a little differently. In the UK, as far as I recall, cars HAVE to stop for you if you're in the zebra crossing. They even have flashing lights to warn drivers that someone is crossing, which I think is brilliant. Here, we have a law that says you must stop if someone's in the crosswalk, but no one ever actually bothers to stop for pedestrians--not unless you're right in front of their car and they can't proceed without hitting you. They'll impatiently wait for you to get out of the way, but they won't wait for you to reach the other sidewalk before hitting the gas.

Los Pollos, for me, the opposite is true. I have such anxiety over driving, it would NOT have been safe for me to get behind the wheel in the UK. Plus, I'm not supposed to drive for medical reasons (I fall asleep unexpectedly, even while engaged in activities. I've fallen asleep while typing emails, waking up to a screen full of gibberish. I've fallen asleep while standing up, teaching a sewing class. It's not safe for me to drive!), so I haven't driven in more than 15 years. The last time I tried to drive was about 8 years ago, right after we bought a car with a manual transmission and my husband decided to try and teach me how to drive it. I got so overwhelmed with the clutch, and shifting gears, and the fact that if I did it wrong, I could potentially ruin the transmission . . . I pretty much had a panic attack within 60 seconds of getting in the driver's seat and had to stop the lesson.

Being a passenger while my husband was on the wrong side of the road was scary enough. I kept having to warn him, "Drifting! DRIFTING!" as he would lose concentration and start heading for the opposite side of the road. Plus, I was sitting in what was, for me, the driver's seat, since their steering wheels are reversed. That was anxiety-inducing. But, what was really cool about the experience--aside from seeing the gorgeous Scottish countryside--our rental car had an awesome feature that you don't see over here. The windshield wipers were automatic! By "automatic," I mean, they sensed when it started raining and turned themselves on. And when it started raining harder, they increased their speed. I've no idea how it works, but it's genius! Wish we had those here. (If we do, I've never seen it.)

There are automatic wipers - they've been on higher-end cars for a while and, like automatic daytime running lights (also more standard in Europe), are trickling down to the rest of the cars. I recently rented a Toyota had them.

I thought you meant we didn't actually have zebra crossings, not that they just weren't generally called that, sorry.

Here (northeast) you're certainly meant to stop for pedestrians in any crosswalk (and obviously other places -- you hit someone who is jaywalking that's generally on you, same as if you're in the rear of a collision. You're meant to be in control enough to stop in time. Someone darting out from between parked cars into a non-residential street or someone who slams on the brakes on the highway may get a percentage of blame but still.) and places without traffic lights or signs at corners will often have the 'must stop for pedestrians in crosswalk' signs, with reflectors and stuff.

The other side thing is hard.

A British friend of mine had lived in the U.S. for decades and been driving here for like 15 years when we were in a car and she pulled out into traffic onto the wrong side of the road on a two-lane highway. She just said, 'oops,' and, as there were cars coming at us, went to turn, but there were cars on either side, which turned into a full spin, center of the road, at like 40, for what seemed like ever, before she regained control and pulled into space on the correct side. Ooops. I still remember everything whizzing by, spinning.

Roxxsmom
06-02-2016, 08:25 AM
There are automatic wipers - they've been on higher-end cars for a while and, like automatic daytime running lights (also more standard in Europe), are trickling down to the rest of the cars. I recently rented a Toyota had them.

Automated daytime running lights were a thing in the US back in the late 90s to early 2000s when the NHTSA repealed a law banning them. I know because my old car had them (it was a 2000 Subraru legacy), as did most of the cars sold at that time. They were supposed to make everyone safer, but there was some later research that suggested they didn't (as I understand it), so they seem to have disappeared from newer cars in the US. Neither my husband's "new" car (a 2014 Ford Fusion hybrid) or mine (a 2015 Toyota Rav-4) has them. The Subarus I looked at while shopping for cars last year didn't seem to have them anymore either.

blacbird
06-02-2016, 10:57 AM
The top light isn't always red. There's no regulation that says they have to be, and a couple of towns in my state have the red light at the bottom, as their police officers informed me while writing me a ticket.

I've never encountered this situation, though I have read about it. The problem, as I understand it, is that red-green color-blind men (nearly always men, owing to bad chromosome organization) have serious difficulty distinguishing the two. That's why the top/bottom thing has been mandated, a regulation that simply makes good sense.

caw

be frank
06-02-2016, 11:22 AM
I've never encountered this situation, though I have read about it. The problem, as I understand it, is that red-green color-blind men (nearly always men, owing to bad chromosome organization) have serious difficulty distinguishing the two. That's why the top/bottom thing has been mandated, a regulation that simply makes good sense.

caw

10-12% of males are red-green deficient (cf: only 0.5% of females), which is why there are redundancies built into traffic lights. One redundancy is that the order of lights is (should be) consistent: red on top, green on the bottom. Another is that the lights are actually a combination of colours: Red lights aren't straight red -- they're red mixed with yellow. Green lights aren't straight green -- they're green mixed with blue.

be frank ... who spent years studying this stuff, because optometry degrees are filled with random bits of generally useless trivia.

cornflake
06-02-2016, 05:57 PM
Automated daytime running lights were a thing in the US back in the late 90s to early 2000s when the NHTSA repealed a law banning them. I know because my old car had them (it was a 2000 Subraru legacy), as did most of the cars sold at that time. They were supposed to make everyone safer, but there was some later research that suggested they didn't (as I understand it), so they seem to have disappeared from newer cars in the US. Neither my husband's "new" car (a 2014 Ford Fusion hybrid) or mine (a 2015 Toyota Rav-4) has them. The Subarus I looked at while shopping for cars last year didn't seem to have them anymore either.

Huh, I had no idea. I'm a non-American-made car person unless there's no option, so I live in the nice bubble of automatic lights, heh.

Anonymouse
06-02-2016, 06:31 PM
Referring to the middle light as "amber" seems to be more of a Canadian/British thing. I've never heard them referred to as amber here in the States. Both stoplight and traffic light sound okay to me, but my ear is a bit off having lived in the UK for a short while.


Another weird thing is parking lots. For about two weeks in the US I have to concentrate not to drive on the left in them, even though I'm fine on the road. Then when I get back to the UK I'm fine on the road (after one scary drive and getting used to using gears again), and then spend about a month trying not to drive on the right in our car parks.


I never drove in England. I did cycle, though. The first time I got into a car back home, I was fine on the road. Got into a parking lot, saw a car coming directly at me, and had a complete "oh $&#!" moment in which I had no idea which side of the road I was supposed to be on.

atthebeach
06-02-2016, 09:02 PM
Okay so to try to add a quick smirk of humor to the day....

When Cornflake first mentioned Zebra Crossings, I thought she/you mean real zebra crossings- ya know, street painted lines like for pedestrians, but with signs for literal zebras to cross, like a "zebra crossing"! :roll: Oops. :gone:

In my defense, we do have "Deer Crossings" sometimes in the USA (and no, I can't recall where- Alaska? Forrest camping trips here in the south or west? I cannot recall, but know I have seen them).

That's all, so now back to real zebra/people crossing discussions.

neandermagnon
06-02-2016, 09:21 PM
I find it strange when Americans call amber lights "yellow". Are they actually yellow in the USA? Over here they're amber - I guess it can be perceived as a kind of orangey yellow though.

Orianna2000
06-02-2016, 09:55 PM
I find it strange when Americans call amber lights "yellow". Are they actually yellow in the USA? Over here they're amber - I guess it can be perceived as a kind of orangey yellow though.
Some are more yellow than others. I've seen LED traffic lights that are more of a true bright, clear yellow. I've also seen ones that are a dull orangish-yellow or amber. Guess it depends on what sort of light bulbs they're using.

Regarding humor and zebra crossings, the first I ever heard of them was when I was a kid, watching the old 1980s "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" TV miniseries. It's been a long time since I saw it (or read the books), but it said something about scientists finally proving God didn't exist, which somehow turned black into white, and all the pedestrians got killed at the next zebra crossing. I had no idea what a zebra crossing was, so I pictured a herd of zebras trying to cross the road, killing everyone in a stampede. :roll:

I really ought to re-read those books or find a copy of the old miniseries. These days, I know a LOT more about British customs, slang, and culture. I'm sure the humor would make much more sense than it did when I was a kid.

R.Barrows
06-02-2016, 10:13 PM
I've heard both terms used in the Northwest US, although 'traffic light' is more common. I've never heard of the yellow light referred to as amber, but if the light is red when you go through it then you can refer to it as an 'orange' light to your passengers when they tell you that you've run a red.

If I were giving directions to someone, I'd probably say something like, "After three lights, take a right."

Dave Williams
06-05-2016, 08:12 AM
That's why the top/bottom thing has been mandated, a regulation that simply makes good sense.

It's not a law. It's just a recommendation.

There's also no law that says your driver's license is valid in any state other than your own. The various states have a voluntary "driver's license compact" where they agree to recognize each others' licenses, but it's an administrative convenience, not law.

There's a bunch of other stuff, like trailers, that don't fall under Federal law or state compacts, which made travel "interesting" before you could easily look up local laws on the 'net. Every now and then some state decides that's a source of income and doubles down on revenue collection from out-of-staters with boats, utility trailers, or campers passing through their jurisdiction.

Dave Williams
06-05-2016, 08:15 AM
Americans call amber lights "yellow". Are they actually yellow in the USA?.

They're the same color to me... and with the new LED lights, "yellow" and "red" are the same color; "green" is white. Which would be safer than the old ones, if they weren't bright past the threshold of pain after sunset...

Dave Williams
06-05-2016, 08:20 AM
zebra crossing

I figured "zebra crossing" from context when I first encountered it. However, in some places in the USA it would mystify a reader.

About ten years ago towns in my area started just putting down a couple of stripes, anywhere between two and six feet apart, somewhere near, but not always right at, intersections.

That's it. No standard width, no diagonal "zebra" stripes, not always in an obvious "pedestrian crossing" location.

The local driver's handbooks have not been updated to reflect this, nor was there any public announcement of the change that I can recall.

blacbird
06-05-2016, 08:45 AM
They're the same color to me... and with the new LED lights, "yellow" and "red" are the same color; ...

Seriously, are you color-blind? I'm not, and I have no difficulty at all distinguishing "yellow" from "red" in terms of these new LED lights.

The biggest problem with the new LED lights, one completely unanticipated, is that they are not hot. Meaning that they don't melt snow in front of them in cold areas. So crews need to clear the snow away from them in Minnesota and Iowa and Wisconsin, etc., in the winter.

caw

caw

Ozziezumi
06-05-2016, 10:01 PM
I rarely hear anyone refer to them as anything other than a red light or a green light. If they're just referring to the physical thing it's usually just "lights."

Dave Williams
06-09-2016, 06:26 PM
Seriously, are you color-blind?

Yes. Just like 20+ million other Americans...

Myrealana
06-09-2016, 06:37 PM
I've always called them "Stop lights." They are generally, in order from top to bottom, Red, Yellow and Green.

We don't have "Zebra" and "Pelican" crossings. We have crosswalks and Frogger.

A crosswalk will almost always have a signal for cars--a stop sign or stop light, generally. Occasionally on places where car traffic is already slow, there will be only a "caution" light or sign, but generally, the burden of making sure it's safe to cross falls on the pedestrian. They watch, wait for cars to pass or stop, then cross when it's safe. Corners in residential/suburban areas often don't have marked crosswalks, and may have no signage at all regarding the possible presence of pedestrians.

Where I work, in the Denver Tech Center, most of us cross the street wherever we feel like it. The best lunch places are directly across the street from my office, both of which are in the center of a full city block. Rather than walk all the way down to the corner to cross at the light, then back across to the restaurant we want, we dodge the cars in the street. Yes, we are aware it's jaywalking. Yes, we are aware how stupid and dangerous it it. No, we're not going to stop.

Los Pollos Hermanos
06-17-2016, 03:42 AM
Ooooh, lots of lovely replies in my absence. Many thanks!

Jaywalking is almost like a sport in the UK, but seemingly frowned on everywhere else. My dad got arrested for doing it in Budapest back in the day. They let him off with a stern warning when they realised he's English.

King Neptune
06-17-2016, 05:13 PM
Ooooh, lots of lovely replies in my absence. Many thanks!

Jaywalking is almost like a sport in the UK, but seemingly frowned on everywhere else. My dad got arrested for doing it in Budapest back in the day. They let him off with a stern warning when they realised he's English.

Jaywalking is a sport in some parts of the U.S.A., but people do die at it on rare occasions, and I have heard of people being fined for it, but it is much better than waiting for half an hour for a walk signal or having to walk a mile for a legal crossing.

Myrealana
06-17-2016, 05:45 PM
Jaywalking is a sport in some parts of the U.S.A., but people do die at it on rare occasions, and I have heard of people being fined for it, but it is much better than waiting for half an hour for a walk signal or having to walk a mile for a legal crossing.
In some cities, it's a way of life -- like Denver.
In downtown Minneapolis, however, the cops will come down hard on you.