The in basket: Tom Baker of the city of Bremerton electronics
shop said driver behavior during an Aug. 26 power outage that
darkened the traffic signals at seven West Bremerton intersections
needs some comment and review of what the law requires during such
“Most of the traffic did not stop at the dark signals – a lot of honking horns and near misses,” Tom said, asking that I remind my readers of what to do when they come to a signalized intersection where the signals are dark. “The city person who responded said it was ridiculous – no one was stopping in any direction.”
The six intersections are on Sixth Street at Wycoff, Callow, Montgomery and Naval, on Burwell at Callow and Montgomery, and at 11th and Kitsap Way.
“It’s unusual to have that many signals out at the same time,”
he said. “We have portable generators and powered up some of the
signals, and we are purchasing additional portable generators.”
The out basket: The law says to treat a signalized intersection as an all-way stop when the signals are dark. That means come to a stop where you would at a blinking red light, then proceed under the rules of an all-way stop, yielding to the car on your right, and to straight-through traffic if you’re turning left.
As a practical matter, though, I’ve found that taking turns based on who already has fully stopped vs. those who still must stop is a helpful guide in deciding whether to go or not.
State trooper Russ Winger adds, “It works very well if drivers pay attention to which vehicles arrive when. Courteousness and taking turns goes a long way as do making eye contact and/or motioning other drivers that they should continue first.
“The predominate reason for honking horns and near misses is simply impatient/inattentive/unknowledgeable drivers,” Russ said.