I do lots of dumb thinking when I don't have to drive.

Like a lot of my fellow Gen X crew, I have an appreciation for the old "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey" bit from SNL back in the day. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if that dude (if he was real) was just sitting around daydreaming and coming up with all those ridiculous ideas. But honestly, I'm completely susceptible to the same kind of daydreamy dumbness.

Sad woman looking through a car window

A lot of the time if my wife and I are riding in the car together, she drives because she's generally terrified of the way I drive a car. So it gives me time I wouldn't normally have to observe the world around me, and I begin to wonder about the most silly of things. The other day, I got particularly fixated on traffic lights.

Have you ever really given traffic lights a second thought?

I can't say I ever had, until the other day. How do they coordinate them? Where are they made? Do they ever really work in a way that doesn't make people mad? Who takes care of them? That last one I thought I could actually answer in my mind. Obviously, it's gotta be the DOT that handles them.

Closeup of a traffic light by night in Israel. Red light.
N Rotteveel

That led to more silly questions in my mind about the number of traffic light repair people, and finally I wondered... How may traffic lights are there in Maine? When I looked at the Maine DOT page on the state's website, it said this:

...1072 lights, 600 control points, 155 lighting towers, 518 fixtures, 104 beacons, 33 signals and 53 dynamic signs statewide.

This represents the lights they work on, as well as ones maintained by individual municipalities. I really would've assumed it was a higher number, and maybe it is. I definitely had trouble finding out individual numbers by town. But either way, that seems to be the magic number. Please, feel free to take that super useful tidbit and blow all the minds of the guests at your NYE party. Or, go back to not caring.

I think gas prices when I was born were probably about the same as now, thanks to the gas crisis of the 70's. What about you?

LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving

To find out more about how has the price of gas changed throughout the years, Stacker ran the numbers on the cost of a gallon of gasoline for each of the last 84 years. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in April 2020), we analyzed the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline from 1976 to 2020 along with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for unleaded regular gasoline from 1937 to 1976, including the absolute and inflation-adjusted prices for each year.

Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover just how much a gallon was when you first started driving.

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The iconic (and at times silly) toys, technologies, and electronics have been usurped since their grand entrance, either by advances in technology or breakthroughs in common sense. See how many things on this list trigger childhood memories—and which ones were here and gone so fast you missed them entirely.

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