Flashers not strictly in event of emergency

When they first saw school buses activating their flashers in the middle of the Spaghetti Bowl, some motorists probably thought, “Please, please don’t drop off students in the middle of Interstate 15.”

And of course, they won’t.

Even though traffic crawls along at 15 mph during rush hour, rest assured there are no school zones or even schools on the freeway.

But the sight of school bus flashers did arouse the curiosity of Warrior reader Michael:

“As a regular Spaghetti Bowl commuter, I often see school buses moving in heavy traffic on U.S. Highway 95. They almost always have their emergency flashers on. Why?

“Aren’t the flashers for roadside emergencies only?

“Should we all turn on our flashers in heavy slow traffic?

“How does this affect their ability to signal a lane change? (I’ve seen some turn off the flashers before signaling and some just change lanes with the flashers still on.)

“And last but not least, having the flashers on, when you are partially obscured by a large vehicle, gives a false impression that you’re signaling a lane change.”

Jim Reynolds, the Clark County School District’s transportation operations manager, has some answers.

“Per the ‘State of Nevada School Bus Driver Training Manual’ and the ‘Commercial Driver License Manual,’ it is required for bus drivers to use four-way emergency flashers on the freeway when they are driving very slowly and their speed falls below 40 mph to warn drivers that the bus needs to slow down,” Reynolds said.

“This is in addition to using the emergency flashers when buses are stopped,” he said. “Bus drivers turn them off before changing lanes using turn signals.”

What are those things?

The highways are full of them, but what are they? So asks Warrior reader Ron:

“I have been wondering for a long time about those strange embedded things on I-15 and many other highways that are about 4-6 inches wide and about 12-14 inches long and go on for many miles. Do they have anything to do with eventually aiding in driverless cars?

“I see them on lots of roads in my travels and it has been a source of bewilderment to me why they are there.”

One could only hope that those things are for driverless cars, Ron, after observing the abilities and behavior of most drivers. I’d take driverless cars over most of the lunatics on the road in a heartbeat.

But the answer is actually much less high-tech.

“The objects in question are likely raised pavement markers, which separate traffic lanes,” said Tony Illia, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

“The markers enhance visibility by reflecting automotive headlights while also providing a tactile warning when drivers cross lanes,” he said. “The markers, as a result, improve overall road user recognition and motorist safety.”

By the way, in my household, we refer to a “tactile warning” as a “waker-upper.”

Heavy traffic

It’s the fall convention season and we all know what that means: the prospect of lots of traffic in Southern Nevada’s convention corridors.

Next week, there are two big ones that should generate an added dose of stop-and-go at around 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Beware of shuttle buses, taxicabs and illegally operating Uber and Lyft drivers in the vicinity of the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday through Wednesday as 45,000 people pack Pack Expo, which isn’t a gathering of fans of the University of Nevada Wolf Pack or the Green Bay Packers, but a convention for people in the shipping materials business.

Then, from Tuesday through Thursday, 26,000 will be jamming the Sands Expo Center for G2E, the Global Gaming Expo, for professionals in the casino industry.

A different kind of traffic blocker is in store for the streets of Henderson on Sunday morning when the Henderson Ironman 70.3 Silverman race is run. And biked. And swum.

Racers will start in the waters of Lake Mead at 7 a.m., for a 1.2-mile swim (was contemplating renaming the column “Lake Warrior” today), followed by a 56-mile bike ride along Lake Mead Parkway, followed by a 13.1-mile run ending near the Henderson Pavilion. Top racers should reach the finish line by around 10:30 a.m., but in a race like this there are bound to be stragglers.

There are too many street and lane closures to list here, but the City of Henderson website has a complete list and map. The busiest street to be restricted will be Green Valley Parkway, where runners will be in the far-right northbound lane between Paseo Verde and Horizon Ridge parkways.

Use caution and give runners and bikers some room.

Questions and comments should be sent to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Please include your phone number. Follow the Road Warrior: @RJroadwarrior

 

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