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Publication numberUS3883846 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 13, 1975
Filing dateJul 13, 1972
Priority dateJul 13, 1972
Publication numberUS 3883846 A, US 3883846A, US-A-3883846, US3883846 A, US3883846A
InventorsBruner William L
Original AssigneeF & B Electronics
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Advance warning traffic direction control system for use at selected roadway sites
US 3883846 A
Abstract
A traffic direction control system for signalling and controlling high speed traffic. A portable sign panel containing a suitable arrow configuration of signal lights is mounted on a trailer for selective movement between a horizontal and vertical position. The sign panel is mounted on a support means adapted for pivotal movement between said horizontal and vertical positions. Means are provided for raising the sign support means to any position intermediate of said horizontal and vertical positions to thereby selectively adjust the height of said sign panel. The sign panel is also pivotally mounted on said support means and means are provided for locking the sign panel in preselected angular positions with respect to the horizontal plane of the trailer on which it is mounted.
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United States Patent 1 1 Bruner ADVANCE WARNING TRAFFIC DIRECTION CONTROL SYSTEM FOR USE AT SELECTED ROADWAY SITES [75] Inventor:

[73] Assignee: F & B Electronics, London, Ky.

[22] Filed: July 13, 1972 [21] Appl. No.: 271,494

William L. Bruner, London, Ky.

[52] US. Cl 340/109; 340/82 [51] Int. Cl. B60q 1/24 [58] Field of Search 40/125 N, 129 R, 129 C,

40/130 E; l87/8.47, 8.49; 212/8 R, 55,59; 214/130 R; 296/21; 340/22, 74, 81 R, 82, 84, 87, 89, 107-109, 114 R [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,428,383 9/1922 Martin 212/8 R UX 1,572,212 2/1926 Long 40/130 E UX [4 1 May 13, 1975 3,233,759 2/1966 Turturro et al. 212/8 R X 3,622,980 11/1971 Elledge 340/82 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 660,583 2/1929 France 340/82 497,167 8/1950 Belgium 109/ Primary Examiner-Donald J. Yusko Assistant Examinerl(. Leimer Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Birch and Birch [57] ABSTRACT A traffic direction control system for signalling and controlling high speed traffic. A portable sign panel containing a suitable arrow configuration of signal lights is mounted on a trailer for selective movement between a horizontal and vertical position. The sign panel is mounted on a support means adapted for pivotal movement between said horizontal and vertical positions. Means are provided for raising the sign support means to any position intermediate of said horizontal and vertical positions to thereby selectively adjust the height of said sign panel. The sign panel is also pivotally mounted on said support means and means are provided for locking the sign panel in preselected angular positions with respect to the horizontal plane of the trailer on which it is mounted.

11 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTED RAY I 975 SHEET 10F 2 PATENTEU RAY I 31975 3, 883 846 SHEET 2%? 2 I I I 4 l w/77MB ADVANCE WARNING TRAFFIC DIRECTION CONTROL SYSTEM FOR USE AT SELECTED ROADWAY SITES BACKGROUND OF INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to an advance warning traffic direction control system for diverting high speed traffic around temporary hazardous conditions on a roadway such as lane closures, accidents, or construction areas. More specifically the present invention relates to a sign panel containing arrow configurations of high intensity signal lights mounted upon a vehicle for adjustment to selected heights and angles with respect to the roadway.

2. Description of Prior Art Heretofore high speed traffic has been diverted around hazardous road conditions or at road construction sites by the use of stationary conical markers, flagmen, or temporary road signs. Sign panels containing arrow configurations of sequentially flashing lights adapted for mounting on vehicles have also been used. Devices of this type are described in US. Pat. No. 3,479,641 to Summers and US. Pat. No. 3,622,980 to Elledge.

Although the sign panels and directional warning systems of the type described in the Summers and Elledge et a] patents are considerably better for directing high speed traffic than conical markers, flagmen, and conventional road signs, systems of this type suffer from the disadvantage that they lack the necessary flexibility for adaptation to varying topographical conditions of the roadway. For example, the relationship between the elevation and grade of the portion of the roadway on which the sign is supported and the elevation and grade of the portion of the roadway on which the oncoming traffic is travelling is determinative of the height and angular position of the sign panel with respect to the roadway, which is necessary to facilitate optimum viewing of the sign panel by oncoming traffic. This is especially true, since practically all warning signs use high intensity sealed beam lamps which have a limited lateral beam spread and an even more limited vertical beam spread. Therefore in order to assure that the sign panel is in proper position for viewing, the height and angle of the sign panel must be capable of being adjusted to suit the particular topographical conditions at the selected road site, so that the beams of the lamps do not lose their effectiveness. The sign panels in the above-mentioned Summers and Elledge patents are not capable of such an adjustment and, therefore, lack the flexibility of the traffic direction control system of the present invention.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a high speed traffic control system which contains the necessary flexibility to facilitate its use at It is a further object of the present invention to mount the adjustable sign panel of the type described on a trailer to facilitate the movement of said sign panel from one site to another.

It is still a further object of the present invention to provide a novel arrow configuration to communicate to an oncoming motorist that a gradual change from one lane to another is necessary.

These and other objects of the present invention are accomplished by providing a traffic direction control system for use at selected roadway sites comprising a trailer, support means mounted on said trailer, a sign panel of high intensity signal lamps disposed in a suitable flashing arrow contiguration or any other configuration which will function as an advanced warning signal pivotally mounted on said support means, means for moving said support means to a plurality of selected positions to thereby adjust the height of said sign panel with respect to the surface of the roadway, and means for pivoting the sign panel to selected angular positions within respect to the surface of the roadway.

The novel adjusting means of the present invention offers an improvement over the foregoing mentioned traffic control systems of the prior art by providing a traffic control system which is adaptable to varying topographical conditions of the roadway. For example in hilly or mountainous regions it is not uncommon for the sign panel to be disposed on a portion of the roadway having a grade and elevation which is different from the grade or elevation of the portion of the roadway on which the oncoming vehicles are traveling. Under these conditions in order to dispose the sign panel in an optimum viewing position with respect to the line of sight of an oncoming motorist the sign panel must be capable of adjustment in both height and angular position with respect to the surface of the roadway. This may be facilitated in the present invention by first adjusting the angle of the sign panel about its axis and then raising said sign panel to a height at which the sign panel is substantially perpendicular to the line of sight of an oncoming motorist. In this position the flashing arrow configuration or any other signal means on the sign panel may be more easily seen by the oncoming motorists. In the alternative, these adjustments could be made by first adjusting the height of the sign panel and then sighting in the proper angle of the same.

These and other objects of the present invention and attendant advantages thereof will become more readily apparent with reference to the following drawings and detailed description thereof wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the traffic direction control system of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side elevational diagrammatic view illustrating the operation of the sign panel adjustment means of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a side view illustrating the use of a hydraulic cylinder for adjusting the angle of the sign panel of the present invention with respect to the surface of the roadway.

FIG. 4 is a plan view of a signal arrow configuration for use on the sign panel of the present invention.

Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a trailer 10 which may be towed by any suitable vehicle to transport the traffic control system of the present invention to selected road sites. Trailer 10 is provided with suitable jacks 12 for supporting trailer 10 in a stationary position. Trailer 10 functions as a base for the adjustable support means of the present invention. However, any other suitable support means, whether stationary or portable, may be used in place of trailer without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

The support means of the present invention includes a vertically extending cradle means 14 mounted on trailer 10 or any other suitable base. Mounted for pivotal movement within cradle 14 is lift frame 16 which is hinged to cradle 14 at points 17. Lift frame 16 supports sign panel 38 at one end thereof and is provided at its opposite end with counter balance weight means 28. Sign panel 18 is pivotally mounted on lift frame 16 to facilitate the angular adjustment of the surface of sign panel 38 with respect to the plane of the surface of the roadway. The details of the adjustable structure of sign panel 38 and the method for operating the same will become more apparent by reference to FIG. 2 and 3 to be described hereinafter.

Also illustrated in FIG. 1 are two hydraulic cylinders 26 which are pivotally secured at one end to cradle 14 at the other end thereof to lift frame 16. Hydraulic cylinders 26 can be operated by hydraulic controls generally indicated at 22 to elevate lift frame 16 to any desired height. Any suitable type of hydraulic cylinders and control means therefor may be used with the present invention. Moreover, the lift frame 16 could be adjusted manually or be powered by electric motor means without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention.

Also provided on cradle 14 are bracket means having suitable holes therein corresponding to selected angular positions of lift frame 16. Frame 16 may be provided with a corresponding hole which is in alignment with the holes in bracket means 15 in said selected angular positions. Therefore, lift frame 16 may be locked in a preselected angular position by inserting lock pins through the aligned holes of bracket means 15 and lift frame 16. This mechanical locking means is used to supplement the inherent locking function of the hydraulic cylinders which will tend to hold the lift frame in any desired position due to the pressure in the cylinders.

The control console 24 for the system of FIG. 1 is contained in a suitable housing which may be mounted on the trailer as shown. As will become more apparent hereinafter control console 24 includes suitable switches and electrical circuitry for energizing the hydraulic power supply of the lift mechanism and suitable timing means for energizing the flashing signal lights disposed on sign board 38.

The sign panel 38 of FIG. 1 is shown in an intermediate position. As will become more apparent with reference to FIG. 2 sign panel 38 may be disposed at any selected height within a given range by selectively adjusting lift frame 16 between a fully horizontal position and a fully vertical position. With the particular design of a preferred embodiment of the present invention the height of the sign panel can be adjusted from approximately seven feet with lift frame 16 in a horizontal position to twelve feet with lift frame 16 in a vertical posit1on.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, lift frame 16 may be selectively pivoted between a fully hoirzontal position A and a fully vertical position D to any selected intermediate position, such as positions B and C.

The horizontal position A is generally the travel position and in this position lift frame 16 may be locked to cradle 14 by lock pin 21. While in the travel position, sign panel 38 may be pivoted about hinge 18C connected between the rear of sign panel 38 and the end of lift frame 16 to a horizontal position wherein a hole in bracket 18A is aligned with hole 16A in lift frame 16. A lock pin (not shown) may be inserted through the holes to secure sign panel 38. In the alternative sign panel 38 in frame position A may be pivoted to a vertical position, as shown in FIG. 2, for signalling oncoming motorists. In this position sign panel 38 occupies the lowest height for signalling motorists. Sign panel 38 may may be locked in this position with respect to lift frame 16 by use of a suitable lock pin in combination with bracket 188.

Sign panel 38 may be raised to positions B, C, and D by pivoting lift frame 16 about an axis passing through pivot points 17. As stated in the description of FIG. 1, this may be done either manually, hydraulically, or electrically without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention. If desired, frame 16 can be locked in any of these positions by inserting locking pins into the appropriate holes 15A in bracket 15.

An adjustable fixed angle lock strap 19 is provided between lift frame 16 and sign panel 38 to facilitate the angular adjustment of sign panel 18 about hinges 18C. Strap 19 is provided with holes 19A which may be selectively aligned with a suitable hole 16A in lift frame 16. By inserting a lock pin through the aligned holes sign panel 38 can be selectively locked'in any angular position with respect to lift frame 16 and the plane of the surface of the roadway.

It is this adjustment, in combination with the adjustment of lift frame 16, the facilitates the aiming of the signal light beams in the proper direction with respect to the line of sight of oncoming motorists. For example, if the trailer 10 or sign support means is located on a hill, overpass, or some other location which is elevated from the position of an oncoming vehicle, it would be desirable to adjust the sign panel to position C in order to direct the light beams from the panel in a downward direction. This can be done by adjusting lock strap 19 while frame 16 is in a horizontal position and then raising lift frame 16'until the light beam direction is at a proper angle with respect to the line of sight of an oncoming motorist.

In a similar manner sign panel 38 can be locked in a position at right angles to lift frame 16 as shown in position A and lift frame 16 can be raised to vertical position D. In this position with sign panel 38 at right angles to lift frame 16, the sign panel of the present invention could be used to signal aircraft, if desired.

Positions A, B, and D together illustrate the variable height capability of the sign panel of the present invention. In all three positions the light beams are aimed parallel to the horizontal. However, sign panel 38 occupies three different heights in the respective positions. This gives the advance warning signal system of the present invention much more flexibility than any of the signal systems known heretofore.

Referring to FIG. 3, there is shown a hydraulic cylinder 30 having a piston rod 30A for pivoting sign panel 38 about hinge 18C. A single cylinder 30 is shown attached to one of the side supports of lift frame 16. However, a second cylinder 30 may be attached to the other side support of lift frame 16, if desired. In the alternative a single cylinder could be pivotally attached to the cross bar of lift frame 16 at a central portion thereof. This hydraulic means may be used in place of lock strap 19 to facilitate the automatic adjustment of sign panel 38 from a control panel at some remote location. In a preferred embodiment controls 22 and 24 are provided on trailer 10, as described in FIG. 1. Hydraulic cylinder 30 is provided with fluid through hoses 30B from a supply reservoir at 22 to selectively extend or retract piston rod 30A to thereby selectively pivot sign panel 38 between a position where it is perpendicular to lift frame 16 and a position where it is parallel to lift frame 16. Cylinder 30 is mounted in a pivotal collar or bracket 32 on lift frame 16 and piston rod 30A is pivotally mounted in a bracket 34 on the rear of sign panel 38.

Instead of using a hydraulic means for pivoting the sign panel, as shown in FIG. 2, a shaft driven electric motor could be used without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention.

SIGN PANEL The signal lamps of the present invention may be arranged on the sign panel in any suitable pattern which will indicate a hazardous condition to an oncoming motorist including flashing arrows or messages such as slow," pass, stop, or detour. In a preferred embodiment the signal lamps are five inch sealed beam amber lights.

In an embodiment shown in FIG. 1, a plurality of signal lamps are provided which form two oppositely directed arrow heads having a common shank. The sign panel of FIG. 1 utilizes 12 signal lamps 20, five of which form an arrowhead at the left side of the sign and five of which form an arrowhead at the right side of the sign with the two remaining signal lamps being equally spaced between the arrowheads to form a common shank. If desired, one or more lamps can be added to the shank. For example, a thirteen lamp arrangement has been found to be quite desirable.

The sign panel of FIG. 1 can be operated in three modes: arrow left; arrow right; or simultaneous flash. In the arrow left mode selection the lamps in the shank of the arrow light sequentially from right to left, while the five lamps in the left arrowhead burn continually. In the right arrow mode the right arrowhead burns continually while the lamps in the shank are sequentially lighted from left to right. In the simultaneous mode both arrowheads burn continually while the shank of the arrow flashes simultaneously.

Another embodiment of sign panel 38 is shown in FIG. 4 wherein right and left diagonally directed arrows are provided to indicate that a gradual change of lanes is advisable in contradistinction to an abrupt right angle turn.

Referring to FIG. 4, there is shown a substantially rectangular sign panel 38 having twenty-one signal lamps disposed thereon in a novel arrow configuration. Two arrows are provided which are directed diagonally upward toward the upper left and right hand corners of sign panel 38. The shanks of the respective arrows have intersecting tail portions at the bottom central portion of sign panel 38.

The sign panel of FIG. 4 has four preferred modes of opertion controlled by any suitable type of electrical In the caution mode lamps l, 2, 4, 5 and 17, 18, 20, 21 in the upper left and upper right hand corners of sign panel 38, respectively, are energized in a simple flash mode where all of the foregoing lamps flash on and off simultaneously.

In the pass right mode lamps 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, l6, l7, l8, 19, 20 and 21 are energized to form a pass right arrow. In this mode lamps 9, 10, ll, 14, 15, 16 form the shank of the arrow and lamps 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 form the arrowhead. The lamps of the shank of the arrow in a preferred embodiment, that is lamps 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16 are sequentially energized beginning with lamp 9 while the arrowhead including lamps 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 are continually energized. This type of energization is especially effective for communicating to high speed traffic that a gradual lane change is advisable. In the alternative all of the lamps of the right arrow can be energized in a simple flash mode.

The pass left mode operates in substantially the same manner as the pass right mode. Lamps 13, 12, 11, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, l comprise the arrow for the pass left mode. As in the pass right mode the arrows can be energized either sequentially or in a simple flash mode.

In the pass both right and left mode all lamps are energized except for lamps 9, 10, 12 and 13 which form the tails of the shanks. These lamps may be operated in a simple flash mode or the respective shanks of the arrows may be sequentially energized from tail to head.

The sign panel of FIG. 4 could also include a matrix of lights at the top central portion of sign panel 38 between the right and left arrowheads. This matrix could be selectively energized to generate messages such as slow," go, pass or any other suitable message. The messages could be alternately flashed with the appropriate arrow configurations if desired.

The sign panel of FIG. 4 provides an advance in the art over sign panels such as that disclosed in FIG. 1, since it indicates that a gradual change of lanes is in order instead of an abrupt right angle turn. This is very significant when directing high speed traffic which is traveling in excess of 70 mph, since the oncoming motorists only have a short time in which to react to timer 39 which is known in the art. caution; pass right;

pass left; and pass both left and right.

traffic signals. An indication of an abrupt right angle turn could in some instances startle a motorist and cause him to react incorrectly, thereby forcing his vehicle out of control. With the sign panel of FIG. 4 there is no danger of confusion and an oncoming motorist can be warned of a lane change far in advance.

CONTROLS AND POWER SUPPLY A control console 24 is provided which includes switches for initiating the operation of the various components of the system. The details of the control console are not essential to an understanding of this invention and are therefore not included herein.

The hydraulic control means 22 for energizing the hydraulic lift means may include a 12 volt D.C. hydraulic power pack with a 1% gallons per minute pump, maximum capacity at 2000 psi. Hydraulic power packs of this and other types are readily available. Therefore,

any suitable type may be used, as will occur to one of ordinary skill in the art, without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention. For example, the hydraulic control means 22 may include a hydraulic pump and a solenoid-actuated valve between the pump and the hydraulic cylinders which is opened to supply fluid to the cylinders when a switch in control console 24 is actuated. The switch may have three positions one for raising lift frame 16; one for stopping the frame at any desired position; and one for lowering the frame. A similar control means may be provided for cylinder for pivoting sign panel 38 with respect to lift frame 16.

Any suitable type of timing means may be employed to selectively energize the signal lights on sign panel 38. In a preferred embodiment a well known type of electromechanical timer is used. However, a solid state electronic timer could also be used if desired.

The power supply for use with the present invention in a preferred embodiment comprises an alternator driven by a gasoline or diesel engine for generating 120 volt AC power. Since the control system of the present invention runs on 120 volt AC power, it can be plugged into a standard utility outlet for fixed operations instead of using the motor and alternator. This 120 volt AC supply is also desirable since it is adaptable for use with flood lights employed for maintenance work at night and for the operation of small power tools.

What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for supporting a sign panel of signal lights comprising a base; cradle means extending vertically from said base; lift frame means pivotally mounted in said cradle means for movement of one end thereof to selected heights; and a sign panel of signal lights pivotally mounted on said one end of said lift frame means for movement to selected angular positions with respect to said lift frame.

2. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said base comprises a trailer.

3. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein means are provided for locking said lift frame at said selected heights and means are further provided for locking said sign panel at said selected angular positions.

4. A traffic direction control system according to claim 1 wherein hydraulic lift means are provided for moving said one end of said lift frame means to said selected heights.

5. A traffic direction control system according to claim 1 wherein hydraulic power means are provided for pivoting said sign panel about said one end of said lift frame means.

6. A signal light system for directing high speed traffic comprising:

a. a sign panel having an array of signal lamps thereon disposed within a substantially rectangular area;

b. said rectangular area having top, bottom, left and right sides;

c. a first group of signal lamps forming a top left hand corner of said rectangle;

d. a second group of signal la'mps forming a top right hand corner of said rectangle;

e. said first and second groups of signal lamps defining first and second arrowheads;

f. a third group of signal lamps extending along a linear path from the midpoint of the bottom side of said rectangle to the apex of said first arrowhead, said third group of signal lamps defining a shank for said first arrowhead;

g. a fourth group of signal lamps extending along a linear path from said midpoint of said bottom side of said rectangle to the apex of said second arrowhead; said fourth group of signal lamps defining a shank for said second arrowhead;

h. said third and fourth groups of signal lamps extending beyond said midpoint along a portion of the bottom side of said rectangle in opposite directions to thereby define intersecting tail portions of said respective shanks; and

i. means for selectively and continuously energizing said first or second arrowheads while the shank of the selected arrowhead is cyclically and sequentially energized from the tail portion of the selected shank toward the arrowhead thereof.

7. A signal light system for directing high speed traffic comprising:

a. a sign panel having an array of signal lamps thereon disposed within a substantially rectangular area;

b. said rectangular area having top, bottom left and right sides;

c. a first group of signal lamps forming a top left hand corner of said rectangle;

d. a second group of signal lamps forming a top right hand corner of said rectangle;

e. said first and second groups of signal lamps defining first and second arrowheads;

f. a third group of signal lamps extending along a linear path from the midpoint of the bottom side of said rectangle to the apex of said first arrowhead, said third group of signal lamps defining a shank for said first arrowhead;

g. a fourth group of signal lamps extending along a linear path from said midpoint of said bottom side of said rectangle to the apex of said second arrowhead; said fourth group of signal lamps defining a shank for said second arrowhead;

h. said third and fourth groups of signal lamps extending beyond said midpoint along a portion of the bottom side of said rectangle in opposite directions to thereby define intersecting tail portions of said respective shanks; and

i. means for selectively energizing said first or second arrowheads and the respective shanks thereof and for flashing the selected arrowhead and shank thereof on and off simultaneously.

8. A traffic direction control system for use at selected roadway sites comprising:

a support means;

a sign panel pivotally mounted about an axis on one end of said support means;

means for pivotally moving said one end of said support means to a plurality of selected heights within a predetermined range with respect to the surface of said roadway;

means for pivoting said sign panel about said axis to selected positions within a predetermined range to thereby adjust the angular position of said sign panel with respect to the plane of the surface of said roadway;

said sign panel including an array of signal lamps thereon disposed within a substantially rectangular area;

said rectangular area having top, bottom, left and right sides;

a first group of signal lamps forming a top left hand corner of said rectangle;

a second group of signal lamps forming a top right hand corner of said rectangle; said first and second groups of signal lamps defining first and second arrowhead;

a third group of signal lamps extending along a linear path from the midpoint of the bottom side of said rectangle to the apex of said first arrowhead, said third group of signal lamps defining a shank for said first arrowhead;

a fourth group of signal lamps extending along a linear path from said midpoint of said bottom side of said rectangle to the apex of said second arrowhead; said fourth group of signal lamps defining a shank for said second arrowhead;

said third and fourth groups of signal lamps extending beyond said midpoint along a portion of the bottom side of said rectangle in opposite directions to thereby define intersecting tail portions of said respective shanks; and

means for selectively and continuously energizing said first or second arrowheads while the shank of the selected arrowhead is cyclically and sequentially energized from the tail portion of the selected shank toward the arrowhead thereof.

9. A traffic direction control system for use at selected roadway sites comprising:

a support means;

a sign panel pivotally mounted about an axis on one end of said support means;

means for pivotally moving said one end of said support means to a plurality of selected heights within a predetermined range with respect to the surface of said roadway; and

means for pivoting said sign panel about said axis to selected positions within a predetermined range to thereby adjust the angular position of said sign panel with respect to the plane of the surface of said roadway;

said sign panel including an array of signal lamps thereon disposed within a substantially rectangular area;

said rectangular area having top, bottom, left and right sides;

a first group of signal lamps forming a top left hand corner of said rectangle;

a second group of signal lamps forming a top right hand corner of said rectangle;

said first and second groups of signal lamps defining first and second arrowheads;

a third group of signal lamps extending along a linear path from the midpoint of the bottom side of said rectangle to the apex of said first arrowhead, said third group of signal lamps defining a shank for said first arrowhead;

a fourth group of signal lamps extending along a linear path from said midpoint of said bottom side of said rectangle to the apex of said secnd arrowhead; said fourth group of signal lamps defining a shank for said second arrowhead;

said third and fourth groups of signal lamps extending beyond said midpoint along a portion of the bottom side of said rectangle in opposite directions to thereby define intersecting tail portions of said respective shanks; and

means for selectively energizing said first or second arrowheads and the respective shanks thereof and for flashing the selected arrowhead and shank thereof on and off simultaneously.

10. A method of directing traffic from a distance to instruct a motorist to make a gradual change in lanes comprising the steps of:

a. arranging an array of signal lamps on a sign panel within a substantially rectangular area, said rectangular area having top, bottom, left and right sides,

a first group of signal lamps forming a top left hand corner of said rectangle,

a second group of signal lamps forming a top right hand corner of said rectangle,

said first and second groups of signal lamps defining first and second arrowheads,

a third group of signal lamps extending along a linear path from the midpoint of the bottom side of said rectangle to the apex of said first arrowhead, said third group of signal lamps defining a shank for said first arrowhead,

a fourth group of signal lamps extending along a linear path from said midpoint of said bottom side of said rectangle to the apex of said second arrowhead,

said fourth group of signal lamps defining a shank for said second arrowhead, said third and fourth groups of signal lamps extending beyond said midpoint along a portion of the bottom side of said rectangle in opposite directions to thereby define intersecting tail portions of said respetive shanks;

b. selectively and continually energizing the signal lamps of said first or second arrowheads to indicate the desired direction in which a change of lanes is desired;

0. sequentially energizing the signal lamps of the shank of said selected arrowhead from the tail portion toward said arrowhead;

d. deenergizing all of the signal lamps of the shank of the selected arrowhead; and

e repeating the cycle of energizing and deenergizing the signals lamps of the shank of the selected arrowhead.

11. A method of directing traffic from a distance to instruct a motorist to make a gradual change in lanes comprising the steps of:

a. arranging an array of signal lamps on a sign panel within a substantially rectangular area, said rectangular area having top, bottom, left and right sides,

a first group signal lamps forming a top left hand corner of said rectangle,

a second group of signal lamps forming a top right hand corner of said rectangle,

said first and second groups of signal lamps defining first and second arrowheads,

a third group of signal lamps extending along a linear path from the midpoint of the bottom side of said rectangle to the apex of said first arrowhead, said third group of signal lamps defining a shank for said first arrowhead,

a fourth group of signal lamps extending along a linear path from said midpoint of said bottom side of said rectangle to the apex of said second arrowhead,

said fourth group of signal lamps defining a shank for said second arrowhead,

said third and fourth groups of signal lamps extending beyond said midpoint along a portion of the bottom side of said rectangle in opposite directions to thereby define intersecting tail portions of said respective shanks;

b. selectively energizing the signal lamps of said first or second arrowheads and the signal lamps of the respective shanks thereof to indicate the desired direction in which a change of lanes is desired; and

c. flashing the signal lamps of the selected shank and arrowhead on and off simultaneously.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification40/550, 340/908
International ClassificationB62D63/06, G08G1/0955, E01F9/014, E01F9/011, G08G1/095, E01F9/012, B62D63/00
Cooperative ClassificationE01F9/014, G08G1/0955, E01F9/0126, B62D63/064, E01F9/0118
European ClassificationG08G1/0955, B62D63/06C2, E01F9/012E, E01F9/014, E01F9/011G