The state is replacing or removing warning signs that might actually encourage people to speed up to make a light.
In the movie “Starman,” Jeff Bridges expresses an alien observer’s take on how traffic signals work.
“I watched you very carefully,” he said to his human passenger. “Red light — stop. Green light — go. Yellow light — go very fast.”
That behavior is the reason that the Nevada Department of Transportation is taking down warning signals that tell drivers a traffic signal is about to change at several intersections.
“The yellow signs are placed ahead of certain traffic signals to draw attention to the signal ahead,” transportation spokeswoman Meg Ragonese said. “Some advance signal warning signs contain lights which continuously flash. Others begin flashing when the traffic signal ahead readies to turn yellow and red, allowing drivers time to prepare to stop in advance of the signal. This can lead drivers to unsafely speed up to ‘beat the light,’ potentially leading to crashes.”
The signals on northbound Highway 395 at Topsy Lane and North Sunridge Drive are being removed.
The sign at northbound Highway 395 and Mica Drive will convert to one that flashes all the time, and one on southbound Highway 395 will be changed to a static sign.
The flashing sign at southbound Highway 395 where Muller Parkway and Riverview Drive meet south of Gardnerville will be removed, while the northbound sign will flash continuously.
A continuously flashing sign will be installed on Highway 88 in both directions where Mottsville and Waterloo lanes meet.
The traffic light at northbound Highway 50 and Elks Point Road will be changed to a static traffic sign.
From Monday through late December, installers will be working overnight on shoulders to make the changes.
Ragonese said it is estimated that vehicles running red lights cause more than 200,000 crashes and approximately 900 deaths nationwide per year. Between 2013 and 2017, 286 people died in Nevada intersection crashes.
The state conducted an engineering study to establish guidelines for most effective use of the different types of signal warning systems, compliant with federal guidelines.