Traffic Signal Flashing Red in All Directions?

Ever been driving on the road and noticed that a traffic signal that usually changes from red to green to yellow is flashing red in all directions? Often traffic that once flowed smoothly through an intersection becomes jammed as everyone has to stop and proceed cautiously through the area. The resulting traffic jam problem especially grows when this happens to a string of lights along the same roadway. Nobody likes a traffic jam. Drivers can get impatient, antsy, and then the potential for motor vehicle collisions increases more.

So why do stop lights sometimes go to flashing red in all directions?

Usually, it means that the traffic light has malfunctioned, but still has power and has reverted to flashing mode. Sometimes a heavy rainstorm or lightning can damage a stop light’s electrical circuitry, causing it to malfunction and revert to flashing mode. Other times, traffic lights are manually switched to flash mode because of nearby road construction. Still other times, traffic lights are pre-scheduled to go into a daily flash mode in order to improve traffic flow and reduce electrical costs.

Whatever the reason, knowing the rules of the road when stop lights flash red can prevent a crash. In Indiana, when a traffic light flashes red it is equivalent to a stop sign. So when a light flashes red in all directions, a vehicle may only proceed through the intersection after stopping and yielding the right-of-way to any vehicle that is already in the intersection, any vehicle that stopped before it at the intersection, and any vehicle that arrived at the intersection at the same time as it and is to the right.

One of the other tricky things about malfunctioned traffic lights flashing red is that they can come back into normal operation at any time, regardless of whether repair crews are visibly present. When the flashing red light switches to solid red, it can be difficult for drivers to notice the difference and motorists can wind up running the red light. Be alert when encountering a light flashing red and make sure it is still flashing red and that it is safe to enter the intersection before continuing on your way.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle collision please call today +1 (219) 736-9700 to speak with one of our attorneys about your situation.


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