The signals are the responsibility of the Brockton Fire Department, but the Traffic Division is busy restoring lights that were knocked down.
BROCKTON — You're driving down the street approaching a traffic light and – boom – a vehicle coming from a side street blows through the intersection, narrowly missing your car.
One might assume the other motorist wasn't paying attention to the lights, but, Wednesday morning, it may have been a case of not being able to see traffic lights.
Stoplights throughout Brockton – and the region – were covered by snow after drifts from strong winds blew the snowfall into the lights.
In Brockton, traffic signals are maintained by the Brockton Fire Department, specifically the Traffic Division.
Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Galligan of the Traffic Division, who also serves on the city's Traffic Commission, said it is the department's responsibility to take care of traffic signals, including cleaning them off if they aren't visible.
That's what they did after the last storm – got into a bucket truck and cleared many of the city's traffic lights of snow.
But Wednesday, the Traffic Division is too busy to clean them as four signals were knocked down during the storm and another fire alarm call box was hit.
"We went out and pulled the snow out last storm, but, in this storm, we had five knockdowns," Galligan told The Enterprise. "We're trying to restore those signals, so we don't have time right now to go and brush them out."
With the sun out Wednesday morning and temperatures expected to reach the low-40s, the deputy fire chief said he's hopeful most of the snow inside the lights will melt.
"As the sun comes out, those should melt out," he said.
If any intersections are dangerous due to vehicles blowing through snow-covered lights, Galligan said motorists can call dispatch at 508-583-2323 and they will prioritize certain lights.
The signals that were hit during the storm include lights at Crescent and Lyman streets; Warren and Fredrick Douglass avenues; Quincy and Court streets; and Prospect Street at North Warren Avenue.
A fire alarm call box, which can be used in the case of an emergency rather than calling 911, was also knocked down by a vehicle at Main and Market streets.
Mayor Bill Carpenter told The Enterprise on Monday that people should view every intersection that has no power as a four-way stop.
The same could be said for intersections with snow-covered lights.
“We publish that over and over and over,” Carpenter said. “If you have a four-way stop, and everyone looks before they go, it’ll be nice and safe. It’s kind of a standard procedure when any traffic light is out. It’s the rule of thumb.”