I've lived in Asheville for nearly fifteen years and I'm still learning what the traffic signals mean, so I know it must be trying for all of you newbs who have recently moved here (last I heard it was something like four-thousand people a day move to Asheville), so here's a brief explanation of a few confusing signals you'll see around town.
This is a green light. You probably have them in your home town and they probably mean Go. But here in Asheville a green light can mean a variety of things, including Stop as well as Go. Also: Slow down, Stop completely, Stop Completely to Check Your Phone For Texts, or Take a Moment to Ponder The Wonders of Life While Other People Wait On You.
Nemesis of the green light, it's the despised Red Light. In your home town this signal probably means Stop, as in 'Stop your vehicle from rolling into the fast-paced cross traffic of the intersection.' But here in Asheville only some of us stop for the red light, as this signal means Throw Your Cares To The Wind! In fact, most Asheville residents have mixed feelings about the red light - they see it as a sign of conformity -giving into the man, so to speak. You know, mainstream America. Again, beware when approaching one of these.
I know what you're thinking - that's a yield sign. But I assure you, it's a stop sign. You'll find these signs at riveting junctures such as traffic circles, freeway ramps, sketchy gravel roadways, and the like. This sign is basically just like a green light: decrease speed, approach with caution and bring your vehicle to a complete stop, count to seven Mississippi, then look around for any signs of activity, because if something's moving- anything, anywhere, you better fucking stop - and, no matter what, ignore the line of cars building up behind your vehicle. Do you see a car moving in the distance? Stop! Is that a cargo van parallel parking down the street? Stop! Think you saw a squirrel jumping between two trees? Stop, man, stop! Then wait a bit more. OK, it's probably safe to go.
Picture it: As you approach an intersection the vehicle in front of you displays it's right turn signal, indicating it will turn right. The vehicle enters the intersection then suddenly halts in mid- turn, causing it's rear portion to stick out into your lane and leaves you wondering 'What's the deal, man? You're clearly turning right so just go on and do it'- but wait. What's this? The driver turns the wheel violently and you hear the sound of tires screeching as the vehicle unexpectedly plows through the intersection, oblivious to oncoming traffic, and exits your view wildly to the left where, more often than not, it enters the parking lot of a fast food chain. Again, use caution.
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We're still working on this one. It's pretty and red. When you see this sign, do what you think Jesus would do and you'll probably be alright.