Taking the stress out of orange


Dunedin police are handing out novel reminders to change driver behaviour concerning amber traffic lights – squeezable orange stress balls.
Police and the Dunedin City Council have been running a “Don’t Squeeze the Orange” campaign since the start of this month, which involves police officers handing out the stress balls bearing the campaign message next to a picture of a set of traffic lights.
Council road safety adviser Deborah Palmer said of all New Zealand local authority areas, Dunedin had the highest risk of crashes at intersections.
Senior Sergeant Steve Larking said crashes at high-risk intersections in Dunedin often involved people running a red light or running a “late amber”.
Mrs Palmer said she saw people pushing through traffic lights every day.
“You can see the light turn orange and you know you’ve got enough time to stop and you can see others in the other lane going through.
“They’ve had time to stop but they just aren’t going to and they’ll even go through on red.”
Mrs Palmer did not know why Dunedin drivers were more likely to push through orange traffic lights but she thought it might be down to impatience.
“I don’t know whether it’s a mindset that people think they just need to get through that phase. They don’t want to wait.”
Mrs Palmer said the campaign was an effort to appeal to drivers’ sense of safety.
“The orange idea is just a catchy wee thing that people seem to get stuck in their mind.
“If it’s catchy and it sticks, people might get the idea to just wait.”