What to Do when Traffic Lights are Off, Legalities in Owning Signs, and Installing Them
Question: What should drivers do when traffic Signal Lights Are All Dark?
Answer: This is a very good question, because there are certainly no traffic signs that back up traffic signal lights if the power goes out, unless it’s a longer term deal like caused by a natural disaster and such.
What I’ve seen for the most part in such situations is that people pretend that it’s a 4-way Stop, and alternate the sides the cars are coming from. This is probably the most logical way to proceed. It’s slower than a traffic signal, but at least things stay moderately organized if everyone does their share to make traffic flow smoothly (i.e., take turns).
Question: Is it legal for someone to own a traffic sign?
Answer: That depends, of course, on how you came by that ownership.
It is absolutely NOT OK to discover a street sign with your name on it, then visit the street sign pole at 2am to remove it and claim it as your own!
It is also NOT OK to pilfer traffic signs for the aluminum recycling value, as seems to happen more in down economic times.
However, it is OK to purchase a traffic sign or road sign or yield sign or stop sign or street name sign or speed limit sign or any other traffic control sign from any company that sells USDOT-approved signs.
One caveat, though. You usually may not put the sign out on your street or road on a pole similar to approved signs. This is the domain of the county road department or the state highway department, and if you do, as some people have tried to, put up a “Slow, Children Playing” Sign on your road or street, the friendlies down at the local transportation department may simply pluck it out of the ground, and you’re out your $75 or $100 or whatever you spent installing that sign.
You may, however, decorate the entire interior of your home or master bedroom suite with highway and street signs if you so desire – if your mate is OK with that. But I’m just not quite sure how it would play to have too many STOP signs in your bedroom. Just sayin’.
Question: How high should traffic signs be mounted?
Answer: I’ve thought of several clever remarks to this question, none of which were appropriate. However, if you’re a private contractor, and have some street or traffic signs to install, there will be local ordinances set forth by the state DOT, or the county or municipal road maintenance department, or, if all else fails, by the USDOT.
In my experience, which has been fairly extens ive, the height of the sign will vary depending on the sign and where the sign is located. Speed Limit signs on the interstate highway will not be the same height as speed limit signs in town.
Stop signs coming out of a home improvement store’s parking lot will probably be a different height than a Stop sign on a state highway. Again, you’ll need to contact your local regulatory road department in order to determine the height requirement in the area you’re locating the signs.
For traffic signs produced in accordance with the USDOT standards, check