Title:
Stealth traffic control sign
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A traffic control signal is provided for an intersection at which a first street and a second street meet. The streets are nearly parallel. The sign is for motorists on the first street. The sign is shaped to prevent a motorist on the second street from inadvertently reading the sign.



Inventors:
Fricano, Phillip J. (Scottsdale, AZ, US)
Application Number:
09/773076
Publication Date:
08/01/2002
Filing Date:
01/31/2001
Assignee:
FRICANO PHILLIP J.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
40/612
International Classes:
E01F9/011; G09F7/00; (IPC1-7): E01F9/00
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Primary Examiner:
GUADALUPE, YARITZA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Tood R. Nissle (Phoenix, AZ, US)
Claims:

Having described my invention in such terms as to enable those skilled in the art to understand and practice it, and having identified the presently preferred embodiments thereof, I claim:



1. A stealth traffic control sign including (a) a stepped face; (b) traffic control symbols formed on said stepped face; and, (c) means for supporting said stepped face above the ground.

2. In combination with a method for controlling traffic at the intersection of a first street and a second street, said first street being at an oblique angle with respect to said second street such that traffic on each street moves toward said intersection along directions of travel which are oblique to one another, the method including the step of erecting a traffic control sign at the intersection for traffic moving along said first street the improvements to reduce the risk that traffic moving along said second street will heed the traffic control sign, said improvements comprising the step of providing at the intersection for traffic moving along said first street a traffic control sign with a stepped face which reduces the visibility of the sign to traffic moving along said second street.

Description:
[0001] This invention relates to traffic control apparatus.

[0002] More particularly, the invention relates to a traffic control sign that reduces the risk that traffic traveling along one street will heed a traffic control sign which is intended for traffic traveling along another street.

[0003] At most traffic intersections, two streets meet and are perpendicular to each other. A stop sign or other sign erected at the intersection for traffic traveling along one street can not be seen by traffic traveling along the other street because traffic traveling along the other street can only see the side or edge of the stop sign and cannot see and read the face of the stop sign.

[0004] In some instances, however, the streets at an intersection are not normal to one another but, instead, are at an oblique angle with respect to one another. This situation is depicted in FIG. 4, where the angle C between streets 40 and 41 is an oblique angle. When this situation occurs, it is sometimes possible for a vehicle 60 traveling along one street 41 to view and read a traffic control sign 10 intended for vehicles 50 traveling along the other street 40. This can cause traffic accidents. If, for example, the traffic control sign is a stop sign and the driver of a vehicle 60 traveling along street 41 mistakenly views the stop sign 10, heeds the stop sign 10, and unexpectedly brakes, a vehicle traveling behind vehicle 60 can rear end vehicle 60.

[0005] Accordingly, it would be highly desirable to provide an improved traffic control sign which would, when erected for traffic traveling along a first street, reduce the risk that traffic traveling along a second street oblique to the first street would read and heed the traffic control sign.

[0006] Therefore, it is a principal object of the invention to provide an improved traffic control apparatus and method.

[0007] A further object of the invention is to provide an improved traffic control sign which makes it more difficult for traffic traveling along a street oblique to the street for which the sign is intended to read and heed the sign.

[0008] These and other, further and more specific objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description thereof, take in conjunction with the drawings, in which:

[0009] FIG. 1 is a top view of a traffic control sign constructed in accordance with the principles of the invention;

[0010] FIG. 2 is a front view of the traffic control sign of FIG. 1 further illustrating construction details thereof;

[0011] FIG. 3 is front-side view of the traffic control sign of FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrating the mode of operation of the invention;

[0012] FIG. 4 is a traffic diagram further illustrating the mode of operation of the invention; and,

[0013] FIG. 5 is a top view of a traffic control sign illustrating another embodiment of the invention.

[0014] Briefly, in accordance with my invention, I provide an improved traffic control sign. The sign includes a stepped face; at least one traffic control symbol formed on the stepped face; and, apparatus for supporting said stepped face above the ground.

[0015] In another embodiment of the invention, I provide improvements in combination with a method for controlling traffic at the intersection of a first street and a second street. The first street is at an oblique angle with respect to the second street such that traffic on each street moves toward the intersection along directions of travel which are oblique to one another. The method includes the step of erecting a traffic control sign at the intersection for traffic moving along the first street. The improvements reduce the risk that traffic moving along the second street will heed the traffic control sign. The improvements comprise the step of providing at the intersection for traffic moving along the first street a traffic control sign with a stepped face which reduces the visibility of the sign to traffic moving along the second street.

[0016] Turning now to the drawings, which depict the presently preferred embodiments of the invention for purposes of illustrating the invention and not by way of limitation of the scope of the invention, and in which like reference characters refer to corresponding elements throughout the several views, FIG. 1 illustrates a stepped traffic control sign 10 constructed in accordance with the principles of the invention and including integrally formed planar sections 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. Section 16 extends between and interconnects sections 12 and 13. Section 17 extends between and interconnects sections 13 and 14. Section 18 extends between and interconnects sections 14 and 15. Sections 16, 17, 18 are normal to the remaining sections 12 to 15. The angle of sections 16 to 18 with respects to sections 12 to 15 can vary as desired. Section 12 includes flat front face surface 19. Section 13 includes flat front face surface 21. Section 14 includes flat front face surface 23. The shape, contour, and dimension of surfaces 19, 21, 23, 25 can vary as desired. By way of example, and not limitation, each surface can be arcuate, irregular, serrated, etc. Sign 10 is attached to the upper end of a post 11. The lower end of post 11 is anchored in the ground in conventional fashion. Sign 10 can be mounted on a building, tree, light pole, or any other desired structural member.

[0017] Section 16 includes flat rectangular outer face 20. Section 17 includes flat rectangular outer face 22. Section 18 includes flat rectangular outer face 24. Section 12 includes sloped upper edge 70. Section 13 includes sloped upper edge 74 and horizontal upper edge 71. Section 14 includes horizontal upper edge 72 and sloped upper edge 75. Section 15 includes sloped upper edge 73.

[0018] At least one traffic control symbol is formed on faces 19, 21, 23, and/or 25. The symbol can be a letter, number, picture, design, etc. In FIG. 2, the traffic control symbols comprise letters 30, 31, 32, 33. Part of the letter “S” 30 is imprinted or otherwise formed on face 19, part on face 21. All of the letter “T” 31 is formed on face 21. Part of the letter “O” is formed on face 21, part on face 23. Part of the letter “P” is formed on face 23, part on face 25. Letters or portions of letters are not formed on faces 20, 22, 24.

[0019] As earlier described, FIG. 4 illustrates a pair of streets 40, 41 which are at oblique angles to one another and which meet at an intersection. A conventional stop sign or other traffic control sign which has a “flat face” is typically placed at the intersection for traffic 50 moving along street 40 in the direction of arrow A. This conventional stop sign can inadvertently be seen, read, and heeded by the driver of a vehicle 60 proceeding along street 41 in the direction of arrow B. If, however, the traffic control sign 10 of the invention is placed at the intersection in the position illustrated in FIG. 4, sign 10 has the appearance shown in FIG. 2 to the driver of a vehicle 50 proceeding along street 40 in the direction of arrow A. Sign 10 can also be positioned at point 100. To the driver of a vehicle 60 moving along street 41 in the direction of arrow B and approaching the intersection (of streets 40, 41), sign 10 has the appearance shown in FIG. 3. The stepped configuration of sign 10 blocks portions of the face of sign 10 from the view of the driver of vehicle 60 and prevents the driver from readily reading sign 10 or makes the sign completely imperceptible. Even if the driver of vehicle 60 is able somehow to surmise from the portions of letters 30 to 33 that are visible that “STOP” is inscribed on the sign, the unusual appearance of the sign makes it likely the driver will not heed the sign. As can be seen in FIG. 3, the stepped configuration of the sign makes it difficult even to recognize the octagonal shape of the sign. As the vehicle 60 approaches the position illustrated by dashed lines 60A, the driver can no longer see the front surfaces 19, 21, 23, 25 and instead, as indicated by arrows V4 in FIGS. 3 and 4, begins to view sections 16, 17, 18. Similarly, when sign 10 has the configuration indicated by sections 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86 (a “stepped forward” configuration) in FIG. 5, as the vehicle 60 begins to approach the intersection shown in FIG. 4, the driver begins to view sections 81, 83, 85 as indicated by arrows V1, V2, V3 and to lose sight of sections 80, 82, 84, 86. As the driver loses view of sections 80, 82, 84, 86 he also loses view of the letters or other symbols imprinted on the face of each section 80, 82, 84, 86.

[0020] The traffic control sign 10A of FIG. 5 utilizes an alternate step configuration 80, 81, 82, 87, 88, 89, 90. Any desired step configuration can be utilized in the practice of the invention. For example, the step configuration 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86 also illustrated in FIG. 5 can be utilized. The height H and width W of each step can vary as desired, as can the number of steps; provided, however, that the resulting sign functions, in the manner described above, to obscure at least a portion of any traffic control symbols 30 to 33 on the sign 10 as a vehicle 60 begins both to approach the intersection of streets 40 and 41 at which sign 10 is installed for traffic on street 40. Preferably, although not necessarily, when vehicle 60 is one hundred feet from sign 10, at least 25%—most preferably at least 50%—of the traffic control symbols 30 to 33 are obscured from the view of the driver of vehicle 60. By way of example, if one letter of the four letters 30 to 33 is totally obscured from view and the remaining three letters are fully visible, then 25% of the symbols 30 to 33 is obscured from the view of the driver of vehicle 60. If only half of the letter “S” 30 and half of the letter “T” 31 are obscured and the remaining two letters are fully visible, then 25% of the symbols 30 to 33 is obscured. And, if only 25% of each letter 30 to 33 is obscured from the view of the driver of vehicle 60, then 25% of the symbols 30 to 33 is obscured.

[0021] As the angle C between streets 40 and 41 becomes less, the height H of a step tends to become larger to make it more difficult for the driver of vehicle 60 to read sign 10 when sign 10 is positioned at the intersection such that the driver of a vehicle 50 traveling on road 40 in the direction of arrow A views the sign 10 as it is seen in FIG. 2. The driver of vehicle 50 views sign as it is seen in FIG. 2 because surfaces 19, 21, 23, 25 are each perpendicular or substantially perpendicular to the direction of travel A of vehicle 50 and to the longitudinal axis of road 40. The longitudinal axis of road 40 is parallel to the direction of travel A of cars traveling along road 40 toward road 41. The longitudinal axis of road 41 is parallel to the direction of travel B of cars traveling along road 41 toward the intersection with road 40. A surface 19, 21, 23, 25 is substantially perpendicular to the direction of travel A when the surface is at an angle X to direction of travel A which is in the range of 80 degrees to 100 degrees, preferably 85 degrees to 95 degrees.

[0022] Sign 10 can, if desired, be fabricated from a rectangular piece of material and the octagonal or other shaped sign painted on the face of the rectangular piece of material.