Finally, Galvan confesses, he simply drove through the red light.
“I have to run that light almost every morning because it will not change,” he told other members of the city’s Traffic Safety Commission during a meeting Tuesday.
He’s not alone. Other drivers are quick to complain about red lights in town that never change — or repeatedly changing from red to green and back again for oncoming traffic.
Some people, like Galvan, run them. Some people get out of the vehicle, run up and push the button on the pedestrian crosswalk control and rush back to their vehicle.
Others avoid the aggravation altogether by making a series of right turns at the offending intersections to get where they’re going.
Assistant Police Chief Kenneth Jefferson says the problem with the lights is the motion control sensors, the ones that look like a small video camera mounted above the traffic light.
Jefferson offers some tips on dealing with the wayward traffic signals:
“Hit your high beams as you’re moving toward the light,” Jefferson said.
The sensors react to changes in the surroundings at intersections, mainly changes in light patterns, he noted. At some times during the day, usually when the driver is facing the sun, the sensor may not pick up the change, the assistant chief said.
Jefferson recommended that motorists remember where and when they have problems with the traffic lights and try hitting the high beams on one’s headlights, making sure to do so while the vehicle is still moving.
Jefferson said the one place he has the most trouble is when he is driving east on West Bowie Street and he comes to the light on North Washington Street.
He said he clicks his turn signal lever to blink the passing lights and the traffic signal will begin to cycle.
Most of today’s vehicles have the passing light feature.
“It’s something to try,” Jefferson said. “I do it all the time and it works for me.” He said another trick a driver can try when waiting for one of the lights to begin cycling is “inching forward. That seems to work sometimes.”
If not, well, there is that button on the pedestrian crosswalk that can be pushed.
But Jefferson does not recommend running the light, even if there is no cross traffic coming.
There just might be a police officer watching.