Eaton County Road Commission

Traffic Signs and Signals

Traffic Flows with Signs and Signals

As a result of economic and population growth, Eaton County has experienced increased traffic volume. Additional signs and signals have become necessary to safely manage this expanded traffic and permits smooth flow of vehicles. Signs and signals are installed only after careful study of traffic patterns and volumes to determine if they are warranted. Inappropriate placement can compound a problem and even increase the risk of accidents.

The Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices
… is the Eaton County Road Commission’s definitive reference on traffic signs and signals. This joint publication of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Michigan State Police (MSP) clearly indicate under what circumstances signals and signs are needed.

To report traffic concerns at a specific location on a county road, please write the ECRC at 1112 Reynolds Road, Charlotte, MI 48813. The commission will note the individual’s name, address and check out the cited locations. ECRC will then consider the appropriateness of a traffic study according to state laws and initiate action on the matter.

Traffic Signs Inform Motorists
Traffic signs come in a variety of shapes and designs. The purpose is clear–to provide safe and easy driving. The three types of traffic signs are: Regulatory, Warning and Guidance. Regulatory signs include: Yield Signs, Stop Signs, Parking Signs, and Speed Limit Signs.

Guidance Signs
These informational signs include street signs, route markers and signs providing advance notice of the name of a side road.

Signals Do Not Have Magic Powers

Traffic signals interrupt vehicle traffic flow at intersections to permit orderly pedestrian and vehicle movement. They are installed to help avoid certain types of accidents like right-angle collisions. Although it is believed traffic signals can solve all problems at intersections, unwarranted signals lead to excessive delay, disobedience and increased accident frequency.

Michigan has developed a set of 11 guidelines, called warrants, used in determining if a traffic signal is needed. The most closely reviewed warrants include: Minimum vehicular volume – Is sufficient traffic coming from the side of the road to require a signal? Interruption of continuous traffic – Is the main road’s traffic so constant that side-road traffic cannot enter or cross the main road? Accident experience – Has a significant number of right-angle accidents occurred at this intersection?

Other warrants address pedestrian crossings, peak traffic periods and traffic volumes. During certain hours of the day or night, some traffic signals are timed to change to flashing lights because of decreased traffic volume. Flashers sometimes are used with four-way stop signs as a motorist alert.

ECRC and the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department Work Together

ECRC enjoys a cooperative relationship with the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department, which offers traffic-control recommendations. The responsibility for setting speed limits on county roads is shared by ECRC and the Michigan State Police, local police and the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department providing the vital role of enforcement. Signs and signals are routinely checked to determine maintenance needs. Vandalism is a constant, costly problem and consumes dollars that could be used for other road needs.