Traffic signals have been known to fail from time to time. Be it during the harsh cold of the winter months, power outages or mechanical failure, motorists need to know what to do when they approach an intersection that has become uncontrolled.
When a traffic signals at an intersection fail completely, meaning they are totally dark, the laws of most jurisdictions require drivers to treat the crossing as a four-way or all-way stop and yield to traffic, proceeding with caution in an orderly manner.
If the traffic signal is in flashing mode, drivers having a flashing red light are to stop and yield to other drivers before proceeding through the intersection. Drivers having a flashing yellow light are to proceed with caution.
Rules of the 4-Way Stop
- At an intersection controlled by a four-way stop sign the vehicle that stops first should go first.
- After stopping and yielding to any pedestrians wanting to cross, roll slowly forward to show your intent to proceed.
- If two or more vehicles stop at the same time, the vehicle on the left should yield to the vehicle on the right.
In either case, it is important to ensure that pedestrians have completely cleared the walkway before proceeding. If the police have arrived on the scene to control the intersection follow the instructions given by the officer.
When the lights are out or the lights are flashing red, an alarming number of motorists don’t know the procedure to follow. Please don’t assume that everyone knows what to do and approach these intersections, and proceed through them with caution. Help keep our roadways safe by understanding this simple, yet often forgotten rule of what to do when the lights go out.
Help keep our roadways safe by understanding this simple, yet often forgotten rule of what to do when the lights go out.