OUR VIEW: When stoplights are out, treat them like four way stops

Published 10:30 am Saturday, August 5, 2023

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Thursday’s severe thunderstorm served as an important reminder of what not to do when the power goes out. 

A large section of the city of LaGrange was without power Thursday afternoon, knocking stop lights out during some of the heaviest traffic of the day in the downtown area. It’s important to remember that when traffic lights aren’t working, they should be treated as a four-way stop.

Instead, we saw many people just running them.

Areas like the intersection of LaFayette Parkway and US 27 were a madhouse, with some motorists needing to turn and others just needing to go straight, all without a traffic light for guidance and safety. In the heavy rain, it was hard to see, and motioning to another driver was not realistic, as it might be on a calm day.

It turned into a situation where some were aggressive, noticing that others were unsure when to go, and others were extremely courteous, trying to stop and ensure others got their turn.

Hopefully, it’ll be a while before we deal with that type of storm again, but if we do, we hope drivers will remember that a power light being out means to completely stop. 

Of course, when the weather is that bad, the best course of action is to stay home. We realize the storm hit at a time when many of you were heading home — including some of us — and that makes it difficult not to be in the storm, but ideally, we would’ve all been at home and avoided the situation entirely. 

We also want to thank the crews with the City of LaGrange, who worked quickly to get power restored. Some of us were without power for a few hours but considering the tree limbs down and other debris on roadways, it’s amazing how quickly they worked to make that happen.

While we’re warm in our homes, probably complaining about the things we can’t do without electricity, those crews are out in the weather ensuring the power is back on quickly.