We had some pretty big winds in my corner of Canada this past weekend. It really messed up the traffic lights.

My daughter suggested that the various scenarios we experienced as we navigated the streets sans traffic signals were instructive.

Various Scenarios

I went through intersections where all the lights were black. People dealt with the absence of direction in two ways. The more thoughtful treated it as a 4-way stop, as they are supposed to do, but others blasted right through.  They were either oblivious to the situation, recklessly celebrating this unusual freedom, or laughing at all the fools who where stupid enough to take turns.  Whatever the reason, these people were a hazard.

In some places they had another problem: I heard that when power was restored to some intersections, all the lights showed green.  Apparently, with all sorts of assumption and no use of peripheral vision, there were numerous fender benders.

I went through an intersection where the lights in all directions were red, except a green left turn arrow. The 4-way stop procedure worked well until a guy in a Dodge pick-up drove down the left turn lane went with the arrow. This confused the working order of the whole intersection.

Everything seems to run a lot smoother when we all acknowledge and obey an external authority.  Be that a functioning traffic light or a 4-Way Stop procedure.