The Most Disobeyed Traffic Light in Dallas

ANEW TRAFFIC PATTERN AND a long wait have made for widespread civil disobedience near NorthPark. Because of the Central Expressway construction, drivers going from northbound Central to east-bound Northwest Highway are barred from turning right on a red signal at the reconfigured interchange. Its easy to see why highway officials made the rule for this construction-plagued junction. Right-turning motorists have a great view of the concrete barriers on the overpass, but zero view of oncoming traffic.

However, our scientific study showed that 90 percent of drivers are too impatient to wait for the 20-second green light sandwiched between l:50-long red signals. Instead of waiting to proceed legally, motorist after motorist takes a leap of faith, blindly turning right. In 15 late-evening minutes one Thursday, 42 cars executed this outlaw maneuver, including a black Toyota that turned from the middle lane. Only five waited out their sentence.

“People are basically taking a risk there,” says Mark Titus, the Dallas traffic engineer who set the signals to give Northwest Highway most of the green light. “I’ve been tempted myself, but I feel like I have to edge out there too far to see who’s coming, so I chose to wait.”

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