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I make things stop and start. I can change color. When I am not working, chaos follows. What am I?

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Are you

a traffic light?

I make things stop and start.

Vehicles (and pedestrians) stop and proceed according to the traffic light signals.

I can change color.

Traffic lights turn red, green, and sometimes yellow.

When I am not working, chaos follows.

Of course, when a traffic light breaks on an overloaded road crossing, it all turns into chaos.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes i am! Well done $\endgroup$ – Dmitry Kamenetsky Feb 11 at 10:07
  • $\begingroup$ Doesn't quite fit, at least in my country many of you are not working every night and no chaos follows. There are backups in place for that. $\endgroup$ – findusl Feb 14 at 14:18
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Are you

the Government

I make things stop and start.

Government take actions and stop actions

I can change color.

The parties that take government have colours associated

When I am not working, chaos follows.

No government leads to lack of action on critical decisions, which in turn creates chaos

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    $\begingroup$ Doesn't quite work; anarchy doesn't imply chaos. $\endgroup$ – wizzwizz4 Feb 11 at 21:41
  • $\begingroup$ @wizzwizz4 fair point. I've tweak my reasoning to clarify $\endgroup$ – Stormcloud Feb 12 at 9:23
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I know this has already been solved and the answer accepted, but here's an alternate solution.

You are:

Vehicle Brakes.

I make things stop and start.

Brakes make vehicles stop, and by releasing the brakes, allows the vehicle to start.

I can change color.

In race cars, the rotors and brake pads can start glowing when in use, from the large amount of heat due to friction.

When I am not working, chaos follows.

If your car's breaks aren't working, you're probably trying anything and everything to get the car to stop (unless you know about down shifting and emergency brakes), and if you can't get the car to stop in time, an accident happens.

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I'm going to make another answer, since this one is substantially different than my other answer.

You are a:

defibrillator machine

I make things stop and start.

This machine sends fast pulses of electricity into the heart to start and stop it in an effort to get it to start again or to return to a normal rhythm.

I can change color.

It can change color if the person it's used on bleeds on it, such as during open heart surgery.

When I am not working, chaos follows.

If it doesn't work electrically, people start frantically looking for a machine that does work. If the patient doesn't respond to the machine (another form of "not working"), people desperately start using other methods to revive the person, if they hadn't already been trying them. And if the person dies, the surviving family's world is thrown into chaos, as they deal with the death.

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I believe the answer is

a traffic light.

I can make things stop and start

Cars stop and start because of a traffic light.

I can change color

A traffic light has three different colors.

When I am not working chaos follows

Cars have to treat a broken traffic light like a stop sign.

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  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Good thinking, but even if it is correct, it has already been proposed as an answer $\endgroup$ – tmpearce Feb 12 at 3:18

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