Did You Know about Traffic Light Sensor (Aka Induction Loop)

So this morning I stopped behind a car which stopped short of the right turn sensor (for some reason).

At first I didn't notice but after the first cycle of light and the right turn arrow didn't turn green, I noticed he's stopping short of the sensor.

Didn't want to be an a**hole to honk him, I opened the door and ran up to him and asked if he could move the car forward to trigger the sensor. To which he said I'm full of sh*t and the light is broken. Too early for drama so I just sighed and walked back to my car hoping he would look and realise there was a induction loop on the road. Another light cycle gone and still no green arrow, he changed lane and went straight instead.

I moved my car forward and the light worked just fine.

So did you know about these traffic light sensor? and what would you have done if this was to happen to you?

obligatory paint drawing

Poll Options

  • 820
    Yes
  • 26
    No

Comments

  •  

    This happens to me on my motorbike, the sensor just sometimes won't pick you up and you sit there like a prize twit. I often wonder if i could avoid a ticket if I had to eventually run it because I couldn't go anywhere, no doubt ozbargain would say no.

    • +1 vote

      You can do that in some states in America after coming to a complete stop
      https://www.businessinsider.com/motorcycles-can-legally-run-...

    • +2 votes

      In my long ago past I have got off my bike or even ridden up onto the footpath to press the pedestrian button to make the lights change.

      Consider it being like pushbikes, they don't get detected either. But, I have gone through the reds quite a few times. Earlier days, not as much traffic and no cameras back then.

    •  

      I'll bet* you a $million if the loop doesn't detect that you are there the red-light camera will when you crawl over the stop line. Apparently a wind being released from your final stage digestive tract will set off red-light cameras but wno't change the lights for you. Your experience may vary.

      *not really, just making a point.

  •  

    There are no traffic lights in the drawing :( ahh so confused now!

  • +1 vote

    Cant believe OP was so cool, calm and collected with such an ignoramous

  •  

    Similar issue with a set of inner city lights I drive through often.

    These lights have red light cameras.

    Suppose the time is 11pm. There's hardly any traffic. You are vehicle A and rock up at the lights, noone is around, they are red and the cross road (one way) has the green. You stop and wait. For some reason at this set of lights, it doesn't change if a car is waiting to go straight ahead- even in the middle of the night, you have to wait the full cycle.
    Except sometimes a car arrives at position B AFTER you did. The lights will change and car B will get a green light to turn right while you keep your red, and instead of giving you your turn after theirs, the lights will skip your turn entirely and give the cross road another green cycle. I've spent more than 5mins sitting waiting at position A while successive cars at position B come and go on the green.

    https://files.ozbargain.com.au/upload/224598/69454/lights_is...

  • +1 vote

    He will tell his friend that a full of s#!t stranger asked him to trigger the sensor on the road, and his friend will slap him for being so stupid. So you already made the world a better place, just a bit.

  • +2 votes

    obligation paint drawing

    obligatory paint drawing

  •  

    Had similar car couple of weeks ago, after 2 cycles I honked him to move forward (don’t want to step out as it’s not safe) in return he broke the lights LOL! I moved forward and it turned green.

  •  

    What an absolute toss bag, he is.

  •  

    I've had the same situation happen before with the exact same result, only difference it was a female who didn't trigger the loop.

  •  

    Was at an intersection waiting for the green arrow, waited a while. Hmm no luck, crept forward. Still no luck for 2 cycles. Lots of cars waiting behind me, kept creeping forward each cycle till just about was in the intersection. Timed it, no green arrow for 12 minutes and had kept creeping forward till it eventually went green. Busy intersection so didn't want to run a red light, people behind me were getting agitated but I legitimately had kept creeping forward to try set it off

  •  

    Well done for keeping your cool. Generally people are so impatient and will beep for far less. No idea where courtesy has gone in the last decade.

  •  

    A similar thing happened to me. I was in a queue of cars sitting on a red arrow. After a couple of cycle changes I realised it must be the front car being too far from the loop. Walked about 4 cars ahead and explained to the elderly lady what's going on, and asked her to move up to the line. She was a bit confused, but fortunately did what I asked. Got the green arrow soon after that.

  •  

    Yes, knew about this.
    Once I was in similar situation, where car in front was bit too far from the solid line, and the signal didn’t turn green when it should have. So got out of the car and spoke to the driver, and he moved his car closer to the line, and got the next green signal.

  •  

    never knew it was a thing. How do I locate the sensor? Is it just a matter of stopping close enough to the stop line?

  •  

    I sometimes ride a little scooter that fails to register at lights and then a car waits 10 meters behind me also not reaching the coil. I move forward as much as I can and motion the car forward but they get scared and won't move an inch sometimes…. drives me nuts.

  • +3 votes

    An interesting topic OP. This reminds of a time when same thing happened to the Mrs at a busy intersection at around Sutherland. She said she googled and phoned some RMS number. When she told them the problem, the guy on the phone said, give me a few seconds to check. Then the operator said both cars at the lights were not over the sensors and remotely activated the green light from wherever he is operating from.

  •  

    Note for cyclists. A couple of N45 magnets duck taped to the underside of the crank is enough to activate the sensors. You're welcome :)

  •  

    He might be from the US, I see people in the US stay 10 meters away from the stop line everyday.

  •  

    i knew about these grid sensors, but always thought they were triggered by weight!

    learn something new from ozbargain every day :)

    wikipedia calls them "inductive-loop traffic detectors"

  •  

    This is a pet hate of mine. It used to happen regularly to me turning into the road my workplace was on which only ever let you turn right when you parked on the sensor. I too realised honking would have achieved nothing because they don't know why. So I too have walked up to cars to get them to move forward. I worked out the best way is not to speak, I'd direct with hand gestures!

    For example, walk up beside the line, point at the driver, gesture where the line is with the other hand, and beckon them forward insistently until they move up. Perplexed look at first but you get very insistent waving those gestures like its urgent and they'll move!

    Way too many people are just ignorant morons, and I'm amazed they wouldn't even try it! Guess that's how they ended up so dumb in the first place. They are also selfish because it's not allowing the designed queing distance for the turning lane to be utilised.

    •  

      I once was stuck behind a guy waiting for a green arrow to come on at a busy intersection. After 2 traffic light cycles I had to get out and approach the driver and politely inform him that aren't any arrows at these traffic lights, no greens and for his information, no f@#*&ng red arrows either.

  •  

    Let me guess, NSW? I didn't know about this years back. On my way back visiting a mate, I stopped at a red light and was the first car in that lane (to turn right). After a while, the driver behind (in his car) was giving me a hand gesture to move forward. I moved the car forward a bit and he continued to gesture me to move a bit further so I did. Soon, the green light came.

    I asked my mate the next day and he explained to me there is a sensor and if I didn't move forward to trigger it the red light for right turn would remain red. Not sure it was such a good idea there because that spot is on a uphill, and the sensor is quite close to the line (so you do have to drive close to the line). The guy was kind enough not to honk me.

  • +1 vote

    Same thing happened to me once, except I was 3 cars back and after two light changes I got out and ran up to the front car and told them to move forward a bit to set of the sensor, they did, the end.

  •  

    It's unfortunate such inconsiderate people exist in the world.

    It was nice you ran up to him and didn't honk him, that's shows a good heart. Too bad we share the world with people of degraded existence.

  •  

    Can we get a category for 50% moron?

    I knew there were "sensors" in the road that affected traffic lights, but didn't know they operated via induction (thought weight).

  •  

    Yes, but I'm a civil engineer and ride a motorbike.

  •  

    It happens around my area (Springvale, Noble Park) all the time.. Camrys generally car or choice, give them a toot and/or tell them and got no idea

  • +2 votes

    I used to go to the city regularly on weekends. From doing this regularly I worked out that the right turn I was doing had a loop on the second space.

    I would always go northbound on King Street and turn right onto Bourke.

    If I was the only car there, I'd get just a green light for north/southbound traffic. If there were 2 or more cars waiting to turn, I'd get a green right turning arrow.

    So after I realised that, I used to always stop in the second space leaving the first spot blank (like your paint photo) and always get a right turning arrow and turn at the start of the cycle.

    I guess the logic was - if there's only one car, it can enter the intersection and turn right after the traffic clears at the end of the cycle.

    •  

      Interesting.

      I thought the programmed logic would be to have both 1st and 2nd spaces with "vehicle detected" instead of "2nd space only"..

  •  

    At 3am in the morning with no traffic. What do people think triggers the light to change when you stop. Magic. What a moron.

  •  

    Taking a guess this is Northbound right turn lane on Waverley Road going onto Stephensons Road.

    Happened to me once, waited 4 cycles without right turn lights at all. Absolutely shitted me.

  •  

    I've been in this situation twice. Once the driver stopped well short. After a cycle of lights I got out and motioned for the driver to go forward. Surprisingly he waved a friendly wave and moved his car. Maybe… he wanted to do that?

    The second situation was exiting a car park where drivers regularly miss the sensor and go well past it. Light never changes as the car behind is not enough forward to trigger the sensor. Only solution is to wait and hope police are around as the lead driver eventually gets frustrated and runs a red light.

    How hard is it to stop at the white line? For a select few special drivers, quite hard.

  •  

    Happened to me once when I travel to Canberra. But I am the driver who stopped behind the line about 2 meters, the lady in the car did not horn me but she left her car to tell me about the censor. I was very much appreciated.

    Anyway, I am sorry for your kindness receive the ignorance from that driver.

  •  

    Have been in the same position. Honked with no successes. Went up and let him know, to which I was informed that he had been driving these roads for over 40 years and he knew what he was doing. Waited another set of lights, he moved forward, and next set we got the green arrow…. Fun times :)

  •  

    The best part of the story was that he refused to cave in by going straight ahead instead and never triggered the sensor.

    According to Seinfeld logic, you would be George, and now you'll go out of your way to catch him triggering the sensor. You spend days camping out at the traffic light. But when you finally do catch him, he claims it was "just time", making no comment on the camping gear or binoculars around your neck.

  •  

    Yep, happens all of the time near where I live. I've had to get out a few times to tell people they have to move forward (or back) to activate it. Surprisingly, I usually have to walk past other cars ahead of me to do so. I even saw someone with a large caravan who'd somehow missed the sensor, and because (many) other cars were too close behind him and he was already way forward over the stop line, he couldn't move or wiggle to get on the sensor. There was no way for me to tell them (or any of the other people waiting behind). They were all still there by the time I did a u turn further down and came back up to that road to get where I needed to go to in the first place. They were there a fair while I reckon!

  •  

    Thanks, OP for starting this thread. Hopefully, this will be an eye-opener for the authorities.

    I live in WA. The synchronizing of traffic signals here has not done at all. All the lights start as soon as a vehicle has started to trigger induction loop and goes on forever with the preset sequence. I believe this has increased vehicle wait time in the traffic lights, maybe was good back in the ’80s but not now. I believe they should prioritize main roads and set the vehicle to flow in a timed manner. The current set up is good for oil companies. I was wondering if there is any traffic simulators live here. They may keep the same sequence so that safety aspects will not change but need to time against the next set of traffic lights in the same main.

  •  

    One of my ex’s swore black and blue that they were pressure sensors, rather than induction. After a while I simply stopped trying to argue with her.

  •  

    I knew about them but never cared enough to find out how to spot them.
    What am I looking for?
    And do I stop on them OR pass over them?

    • +4 votes

      4 x 5mm cuts in the road that make 4? squares/rectangles about 1m big.

      Just stop before the white line like you're supposed to and you won't have any issues. People who stop a full car length or more too short are the issue, because they don't stop over them.

      Same cuts for speed cameras/red light cameras

      Example 71 Macpherson St
      https://maps.app.goo.gl/stbWdpT7FdVmZq8S9

  • +1 vote

    There is a set of lights right by my place in Newtown, Sydney, that has one of these sensors in the middle of the intersection, if a car is waiting on it for more than a few seconds it will give a green right arrow before changing to a full red light, but so many people do not realise you can legally pull into the middle of the intersection and wait to turn right (hence trigger the right arrow) so they wait before the line and the lights just turn red (it is a two-lane street and both lanes you can go straight ahead in) in peak hour this is very frustrating as there is almost never a chance for you to turn right when it is a green light.

  • +1 vote

    I wish drivers look around when they stop at an intersection. They need to stop close to the car in front so more cars can get through the intersection. Some idiot drivers leave the gap for a truck or a bus. Also turning-right drivers need to triger the sensor but some idiot drivers don't have the brain to understand what it means. They stay there forever scatching their head. These things are everyday life skill but they are taught nowhere. Who get the blame?

  • +1 vote

    The Victorian government publishes 'op sheets' for Vicroads-controlled intersections online here. They outline how these sensors interact with the traffic cycle, and if this differs by time of day. I found many intersections on my commute have sensors linked to tram/bus stops or level crossings which cause a longer pedestrian cycle.

    You need the intersection ID (printed on the grey traffic cabinet near the lights with a phone number, or online here) to work out which batch to download.

  •  

    That driver is just an a-hole! Even when he didn't believe you why can't he drive normally anyway? Just stop short of the line instead of metres away from the line.

  •  

    Have seen this happen lots of times.

    Polite honk. Driver in front looks in rear vision mirror. Throws 1 hand up like 'what bro'?
    Second honk, a bit more enthusiasm. Driver throws both hands up in utter disgust at my second honk.
    If third honk is required, usually a turn around yell plus hands from driver in front.

  •  

    The guy must of felt pretty silly after a few light turns nothing happened.

    I bet he knew you were right but was too stubborn to prove you right so went straight.

    Edit: I have never been told about them, but at some point in my life I noticed the squares on the road and put 2 and 2 together and figured it out.

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