Flashing Beacons

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Flashing Beacons

Flashing beacons (sometimes called flashers or flashing lights) are frequently requested in the belief that they will slow down traffic. However, the real purpose of flashers is to attract attention to unexpected hazards.

A flashing beacon is most commonly used to advise the motorist of something unexpected.  In other parts of the country they are used when a signal or a stop sign may be obstructed by a curve or hill in the road.  Flashing beacons are also used at pedestrian and school crossings.  Beacons are classified as warning devices that are meant to catch your attention and advise you about something out of the ordinary.

Beacons may not always be appropriate.  Like the story of the little boy who always cried wolf, if the motorist doesn’t see anything to be cautious about or pay special attention to the flasher will lose its effectiveness. 

After continually being alerted to a condition that does not appear to be truly unusual, research and experience has shown that drivers actually stop "seeing" a flashing light. This can result in a disregard for all beacons, even those that are truly needed.

If you do think there is a problem contact the Engineering Department.  A flashing beacon may not be the solution, but there may be another engineering solution.

What if there is something wrong with an existing flashing beacon?  The Electrical Division is part of the Engineering Department and we can help with that also, please click on the link below and let us know which flasher isn’t working and we will have it repaired.

Jane Williams: email

Rick Hanson: email