signalMode adds a twist. The behaviour described for the traffic light corresponds to a signal mode of 0, also known as a manual reset event. Here the event stays signalled irrespective of how many consumers pass through it (=successfully wait on it).
A signal mode of 1, however, turns it into an auto-reset event, where the act of successfully waiting on the event resets it to unsignalled. This is now more akin to a turnstile that only lets one person through after being signalled, e.g. by a scan of a valid transport pass or a button press by a security guard.
Interestingly, a event object is also sometimes known as a latch – that’s something to chew on for SQL Server folks. Don’t get hung up about who or what signals it; that is a separate issue altogether. Just keep in mind that the signal mode is a permanent attribute of the event – you construct it as manual reset or auto-reset. Full disclosure: there seems to be at least one more SignalMode (2, used by the related SOS_WaitableAddress), but let’s ignore it today.
This is part of a great series, and I hope Ewald keeps it up. I’d probably drop a few bucks on a cleaned up and edited version of his discussion of internals in an 80-page or so e-book.