Intersections and intersection traffic signals can be one of the deadliest combinations. A meeting is one of the most dangerous parts of a road. Approximately one-third of car accidents occur in the United States, with most of these accidents occurring at red or yellow lights.
This alone raises the question of how well drivers know their local traffic signals and light/ signal phasing. (flashing yellow, flashing red, stop sign, red light, etc.) Just because a light turns green, you still must wait till everyone comes to a complete stop, or it’s otherwise safe to proceed through an intersection with or without traffic signals.
As a driver on the road, you are liable to know the driving rules and follow the law by exerting extreme caution to ensure the safety of yourself and those around you. A green light is not the same as a flashing yellow light.
It’s simple enough to believe that having three colors of lights to follow can eliminate car accidents. However, that is not the case since there are different interpretations of lights. People can interpret a traffic light differently, which can cause accidents with oncoming vehicles.
The yellow light warns the driver that the red light traffic signal will come up. Many take this warning and interpret it differently, causing accidents.
For example, a driver in the front sees the yellow light or yellow arrow and might slow down, while the other behind driver sees a flashing yellow signal light and might want to speed up to avoid getting stuck at a traffic light.
Even though the morning is the same, there are different interpretations of traffic signals, and such actions are the leading cause of rear-end collisions in the US. Traffic signals can also take your eye off the road and cause a t-bone accident at the intersection.
Pedestrians are also victims in crosswalks at traffic signals. Traffic lights are dangerous places, so proceed with caution, especially on flashing yellow lights.
The law may allow you to make a right turn at a red traffic signal or red traffic light in California. However, before making the turn, it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure there is no oncoming traffic or pedestrians in a crosswalk at a red light, green arrow, or red stop sign.
Many drivers fail to stop at the red light before turning and head for a sharp and quick turn on a red light, unaware of any incoming traffic or people walking. Such dangerous driving can cause fatal accidents. (Don’t forget a flashing red light signals traffic to proceed with CAUTION.).
Some drivers who see a yellow light or transitioning traffic lights will speed up to get through an intersection. Careful drivers will try to slow down quickly to avoid cross traffic, often getting rear-ended by other cars following too closely.
When drivers approach a flashing yellow traffic light, they must treat the flashing yellow light as a stop sign—because of this, approaching drivers must wait until the light signal phases back to green before proceeding. Accordingly, you must slow down and proceed through the intersection with caution.
Intersections are already dangerous places for road users. Speeding up can increase the risk of getting into a serious injury car accident.
Accidents are extremely dangerous during a yellow, red, or traffic signal blackout. If you are hit at a traffic light, you may be eligible to receive an award of monetary compensation. During such situations, the best course of action is to move to a safe place, contact the police for a report, take pictures, gather details from witnesses, and get yourself to a medical center for tests or treatment.
To file for personal injury claims against the negligent driver, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys at (213) 596-9642 and get a free case evaluation. Our lawyers will help assess your case, review the evidence, file for claims, and deal with the insurers to get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for more information.
Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.