Do any countries use red and green but not yellow for traffic lights?
November 7, 2004 1:06 PM   Subscribe

American traffic lights used to be simply red/green, with no yellow. Are there any countries that still have red/green traffic lights?
posted by gsteff to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
They're not just red/green, but UK traffic lights are somewhat reversed and follow the other half of the red/green pattern:

Red (stop)
Yellow (prepare)
Green (go)
Red (stop)

It was just one of the many interesting differences I noted when I was over there.
posted by shepd at 1:17 PM on November 7, 2004

I don't drive, so I've never payed much attention to it, but I thought UK traffic lights went

Red (stop)
Red+Orange (prepare)
Green (go)
Orange (stop if you can)
Red (stop)
posted by fvw at 1:55 PM on November 7, 2004

In the UK there are definitely amber lights on both sides of the cycle. Here's the highway code section on it.
posted by grouse at 4:17 PM on November 7, 2004

China uses only red and green with countdown timers next to the red lights so you know how long you will be sitting at a red light. It is not uncommon for a driver to see it counting down from 60 to just shut off the engine. The green lights flash when they are expiring. [I have been in China for a month and a half and can only speak to the few provinces I have been. This is just one of the many fascinating culture differences.]
posted by geekyguy at 5:33 PM on November 7, 2004

Thailand has Chinese-style traffic lights.
posted by sleslie at 7:49 PM on November 7, 2004

Here in Bangalore, India, we are starting to use those countdown timers at major traffic junctions. It's very helpful.
posted by madman at 11:12 PM on November 7, 2004

fvw is right about the lights in the UK, with the addition of
Flashing orange (go if it's safe, on a pedestrian crossing).

France seemed to be the same, without the "Red+Orange (prepare)" step - and it seems to prevent the 'on your marks, get set, go!' racetrack mentality.
posted by cell at 12:00 AM on November 8, 2004

In Mexico, the green lights will start flashing at the end of to indicate that the yellow lights are about to be come on. It's kind of useful in judging if the yellow light should really mean "speed up" or "slow down." And in France, they have those mini-lights next to the regular ones, that tell you if it's OK to turn right on red, or not - usually depending on the time of day. I always thought that was better than having to read some sign about time restrictions.
posted by sixdifferentways at 12:49 PM on November 8, 2004

Ahhh, well, I wasn't driving at the time in the UK, so I suppose I didn't spend much time looking at the lights. Besides, most of the intersections in the UK (or at least where I was) don't have lights. They have rotaries instead. Those are a great idea (someone, introduce them to my city... PLEASE!) :-)
posted by shepd at 2:18 PM on November 8, 2004

shepd: They are roundabouts, or islands. Certainly not rotaries.
posted by ajbattrick at 4:56 AM on November 9, 2004

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