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Laura J. Gardner | The Journal Gazette
The lights at the intersection of Lima and Cook roads perplex a reader.

Use sense with traffic signals

Red lights seem to be simple enough to understand, but it’s clear that people have different interpretations.

Q. I regularly cross Lima Road on Cook Road. I have entered the intersection with the light green and had it turn red before I made it fully across. How is this timing supposed to work? – Steve Kepler

A. Great question, Steve, but the answer isn’t simple.

From an engineering perspective, you should be safe in this maneuver. Toni Mayo, spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Transportation, said yellow signals are intended to warn drivers of the upcoming change in who has the right-of-way at an intersection.

At intersections, the yellow signal is followed by a period of time where drivers in all directions have a red signal. This all-red time provides enough cushion for people already in the intersection to exit safely.

Of course, whether that means you are safe from getting a traffic ticket depends on the circumstances.

Sgt. Ron Galaviz, spokesman for the Indiana State Police, said enforcement is going to be based on many factors, including when a person enters an intersection. For people already in the intersection on green, he said it wouldn’t do any good to stop when it turns red.

But that does not give people the OK to just blow through an intersection at the last second of the yellow signal, either, he noted.

So, use common sense when driving. I’d say a safe rule of thumb is if you enter an intersection knowing you won’t clear it before the light turns red, you should expect trouble.

Road work

•The second phase of the Saint Joe Center Road Bridge project will begin Monday. Traffic will be shifted to the north side of the bridge to allow crews to replace the sidewalk and deck on the south side.

The shift was supposed to occur in June, but high water delays pushed back completion of the entire $3.4 million project to late this fall.

•The state will restrict travel lanes Monday on Interstate 469 between Tillman Road and U.S. 30 to allow for $1.7 million in concrete repairs to be made. Speed limits will be dropped to 60 mph and further to 45 mph from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. when workers are present. The work should be done by June 2013.

•The state will close Indiana 1 between Wells County Road 300N and Wells County Road 350 N from Monday to Wednesday to replace a pipe. The official detour uses Indiana 124 to Indiana 301 to Indiana 224, but local drivers can probably just cut across on a county road to Indiana 116 to the west.

Radio Sage

This week’s bonus audio question comes from Nancy Goss, who asked about the intersection of Tillman Road and Anthony Boulevard.

The segment originally aired Friday afternoon on WOWO and can be found online at

Road Sage provides transportation knowledge, solves driving dilemmas and answers construction conundrums. It appears every Saturday. Email your questions to