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While people who live in small towns may not live their lives with traffic lights, people in larger towns or big cities often spend a lot of time sitting at red lights. Though it may be challenging when those traffic lights are red, hitting a green one at the perfect time sometimes brings a sense of delight and victory. Enjoy and appreciate this experience by celebrating International Traffic Light Day! 

History of International Traffic Light Day

The history of the traffic light starts with a manual version of traffic signaling that was first used in London in 1868, but its two signal arms were manually manipulated by a lever instead of being operated through electricity.

Commemorating the installation of the first electric traffic signal system in the United States, International Traffic Light Day dates back to August 5, 1914 in Cleveland, Ohio. The system was designed by a policeman named Lester Wire, from Salt Lake City, Utah. Only ten years after this remarkable achievement in Cleveland, the first electric traffic light system in Europe was installed in Berlin, Germany.

That first traffic light signal only had two colors but just a few years later, in 1923, the three color signal light was invented bringing the yellow “caution” light into play. International Traffic Light Day offers an ideal opportunity to celebrate this interesting anniversary.

How to Celebrate International Traffic Light Day

This is a great day to show some affection for advances of the modern world that keep people safe and also keep them moving along. Check out some of these interesting ideas to get started celebrating International Traffic Light Day:

Appreciate Those Traffic Lights

Many people are annoyed when they have to stop at a red light, not remembering that the traffic light is an excellent modern invention that actually helps for traffic to flow much more smoothly than when every single driver had to stop at a stop sign. In celebration of International Traffic Light Day, be sure to exercise some gratitude for these electric traffic lights that make the world a much better, much safer place!

Make an International Traffic Light Day Playlist

Get into the groove of International Traffic Light Day by creating a soundtrack for the day through Spotify, Apple Music or another online music platform. Compile a playlist with a collection of different songs that channel the vibe of stopping, starting and driving in traffic. Check out some of this group of songs to get started with:

  • Crosstown Traffic by Jimi Hendrix (1968)
  • Traffic by Stereophonics (1997)
  • One Headlight by Wallflowers (1996)
  • Heavy Traffic by Elton John (1988)


Play Red Light, Green Light with the Kids

Remember that game with the kids where the person acts as a traffic light and the kids are allowed to go on green but most stop on red? Perhaps it would be fun for teachers, parents or grandparents to get the kids outside in honor of International Traffic Light Day and have them line up to play this fun race game that mimics the characteristics of a traffic light.

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