With our busy roads, distracted drivers, and enormous number of automobiles, our modern day society would have no chance of operation without traffic signals. These marvelous devices transformed our congested, fast-paced roadways into regulated works of art. Human fault, however, is unpredictable; at any given second, someone, somewhere, is disobeying a traffic signal or law. Fault aside, even with the occasional careless driver every now and then, traffic signals can’t be replaced; there are a few safety tips, however, that local Clearwater drivers can use a refresher on.
Traffic Signal & Safety Reminders:
- Despite the temptation, don’t go with the flow of traffic if it’s considerably faster than the speed limit—generally 10-15MPH is pushing it.
- Come to a complete stop—don’t just yield—before making a right turn on red. When turning right on red, the light acts as a stop sign and will be enforced as such. It’s not only safer, but it’s legally required for you to stop and check for oncoming traffic regardless.
- Choose wisely and decide beforehand if it’s safe to creep towards the middle of an intersection while yielding to oncoming traffic and attempting to make a left turn on a solid green light.
This is an amazingly popular technique used when at a solid green light (not at arrow) and it’s both clever and dangerous at the same time. A driver will slowly coast towards the center of an intersection while he has a green light and is yielding to oncoming traffic. Oncoming traffic, especially during rush hours, may be impenetrable; if he stays at the solid white line where a pedestrian would cross, he may never get the opportunity to make his turn (unless of course he gets a green arrow soon after). By coasting out into the middle of the intersection, he’s securing his spot to make a turn. His light will turn red but he’s already in the intersection so he’s able to go.
From a legal standpoint, no laws are being broken unless something goes wrong, but from a safety standpoint, by your light turning red, that means the cross-traffic that was originally stopped is about to get a green light. That means that you’ve got to make it from the middle of the intersection to your lane before the newly moving traffic gets to you. While you should have plenty of time to do so due to an approximately 3 second delay between when a light turns red and the opposing turns green, it’s still a risk to be considered. Another huge cause of accidents related to this situation is known as the “Yellow Trap” and this happens when someone does this maneuver, but when his light turns red; the oncoming traffic light stays green.
The driver who was attempting to make the left turn assumes that, because his turned red, that the opposing side’s light has turned red as well (which is normal and expected). He proceeds with the rest of his turn expecting the opposing traffic to stop but isn’t aware they still have a green light, causing a collision. This scenario—unless due to a traffic signal defect—can only happen at intersections with special traffic signals that detect traffic rates and switch lights accordingly. The lane travelling north, for example, could have a red light while the lane travelling south, for example, would have a green light.
If you have ever been in an accident due to a situation like this, it can be confusing both legally and mentally. Both drivers may be confused as to why the lights were opposite for parallel running roads. While in this case, the driver making the left turn is at fault for not yielding to traffic, he may have reason to believe that the traffic signals are defective; the other driver made the situation worse, or didn’t participate in the prevention of it (i.e. speeding or distracted driving). Every case is different and the final verdict can only be determined in a court of law, but that verdict can be more fair or appropriate for your situation if you’ve got the right team by your side. You could be entitled to compensation if someone else was at fault for the accident.
TAMPA BAY TRAIL LAWYERS DOLMAN LAW GROUP
The experienced Trial Attorneys at Dolman Law Group stand ready, willing and able to represent the unfortunate victims of Automobile Accidents. Dolman Law Group has a strict no win no fee policy and every consultation is always complimentary. Contact us today for an evaluation if you are in need of competent legal representation.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756
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Practice Area: Victims of Automobile Accidents