Who Invented Traffic Signals?

Green, yellow, red—discover the genius behind traffic control.

Streets with no traffic signals would mean a world of urban chaos! Streets with no traffic signals are unsafe – people have a difficult time communicating with other drivers, congestion occurs, and more and more accidents happen without these modern indicators of stop, yield, and go. Clearly, without the invention of traffic signals, our cities would have a difficult time operating well!

Who Invented Traffic Signals?

The inventor of traffic signals was Garrett Augustus Morgan, an African American inventor born in 1877. A curious and creative thinker, Morgan developed several helpful products over the course of his lifetime. The idea for creating a traffic signal came after he saw a crash occur between a horse-drawn carriage and a car. He knew that something had to be done about traffic safety, and in 1923, obtained a patent. He then had the technology patented in Canada and Great Britain, and went on to create several other products that were used around the world. He was afterward asked to speak at exhibitions, conferences, and conventions to explain how his inventions worked.

The Importance of Paying Attention to Traffic Signals

Being cautious and paying attention to traffic signals will help you stay safe – especially if an emergency situation arises. When you’re driving, you can never predict what other drivers will do or what might happen while you’re on the road. An animal, a person, or another car could be right in front of you without any warning and you’ll need to know how to react. Traffic signals can help eliminate some of these unforeseen events, but not always.

Unfortunately, reckless drivers will be in every city and sometimes danger will find you, whether you follow the rules or not. But, if you understand the real purpose of traffic signals and what it means to uphold the law, you will be able to help offer a safe place for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. If you ignore a red light, it could cause a serious and even fatal accident. If you choose to drive through a yellow light, you may be risking your own safety. A green signal is your safest bet in moving your car, but you should always stay alert while you’re on the road. No matter what color traffic signal you have, keep your mirrors in proper working order, keep the music down so you can hear what is going on around you, and stay alert to what other drivers are doing on the road. Your safety depends on it!

Prairie Electric has been the leading provider of traffic signal maintenance and installation in the Pacific Northwest for years. We are proud to provide vehicle detection loops, install new traffic lights, and retrofit existing signals. If you have a project of this type, contact our team at Prairie Electric today!

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