Question about proceeding through Yellow Lights

chuckstang

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In all seriousness, I have been ticketed twice in the last year for this and really am trying to figure out the law obviously.

I'll start by asking what does the law state in this regard to proceeding through a yellow light.

I have found that nearly all lights stay yellow for a varying amount of time and IMO it would make sense for the amount of time to increase depending on the speed limit of said intersection. For example, a speed limit of 55mph and a yellow light duration of 2 seconds seems like an inadequate amount of time to safely come to a stop...

In both my cases, I was driving in my fully loaded up work van going through an intersection where I felt it would be unsafe to try and come to a stop and in both situations I would say the light did turn Red before I was entirely through the intersection and in both cases I was cited for running a red light. Seems unjustifiable to me and maybe I am just venting but this is really getting frustrating because I am not trying to break the law or endanger anyone else.

I'm considering fighting this one because I believe 3 moving violations in my state results in some type of further punishment as if the ridiculous insurance rates were not already enough. Oh and the latest situation it appeared to be either an under cover or off duty state trooper because he was not in a marked vehicle, no uniform or badge and appeared that his wife was in the car with him
 

RDJ

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In my experience .. ALWAYS take a ticket to court. yes it costs you some vaca time but you stand a good chance of getting it and / or fines reduced somewhat and if you are lucky get it dismissed.

I had a similar ticket once I was going across an intersection that was 6 lanes and a center strip wide. it turned red before I could get through .. Told the judge that when I started through it was yellow and because the car behind me was pretty close I did not feel stopping was a good idea. he asked me what a yellow meant, I told him that you should stop if you could do so safely and if not proceed through at a reasonable speed. Case dismissed.

If you truly felt it was unsafe to stop go to court and tell the judge that, dress nice, be very respectful and don't show attitude and you just might get at least one of them dismissed. then hope you don't get the same judge on the 2nd one cause if you do he is not likely to accept that story a 2nd time if he recognizes you.

In all seriousness, I have been ticketed twice in the last year for this and really am trying to figure out the law obviously.

I'll start by asking what does the law state in this regard to proceeding through a yellow light.

I have found that nearly all lights stay yellow for a varying amount of time and IMO it would make sense for the amount of time to increase depending on the speed limit of said intersection. For example, a speed limit of 55mph and a yellow light duration of 2 seconds seems like an inadequate amount of time to safely come to a stop...

In both my cases, I was driving in my fully loaded up work van going through an intersection where I felt it would be unsafe to try and come to a stop and in both situations I would say the light did turn Red before I was entirely through the intersection and in both cases I was cited for running a red light. Seems unjustifiable to me and maybe I am just venting but this is really getting frustrating because I am not trying to break the law or endanger anyone else.

I'm considering fighting this one because I believe 3 moving violations in my state results in some type of further punishment as if the ridiculous insurance rates were not already enough. Oh and the latest situation it appeared to be either an under cover or off duty state trooper because he was not in a marked vehicle, no uniform or badge and appeared that his wife was in the car with him
 

Uncle Meat

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I believe the laws may be different in some states. In Alabama it's completely legal to enter the intersection while the light is yellow. In fact it's legal to be in the intersection when the light is RED as long as your wheels had broken the commit line before the light changed from yellow to red.

U.M.
 

oldmodman

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Here in California you may enter an intersection at any time the lights are not red. Your front wheels must have crossed the limit line before the red light illuminates.

Then you are to continue through the intersection until you have left the intersection.

But there is one huge NO to that rule. You must not enter an intersection EVER if there is not space to exit it. Blocking an intersection is called creating gridlock.

There must be room room for the cross street driver to pass through the intersection behind you as soon as the light turns green. That is even if you enter the intersection on the green, then the light turns red and you are still in the intersection you are causing gridlock and can be cited.
 

trc46

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As long as you are in the intersection before it turns red, which would be yellow, you are required by law to clear the intersection
 

RDJ

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As long as you are in the intersection before it turns red, which would be yellow, you are required by law to clear the intersection
while true, it does NOT exempt you from getting a ticket which is what the question is about
 

Junior00

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First you need to establish whether your state is a "permissive yellow" or "restrictive yellow" state. From there, you can use the posted speed to calculate yellow and red light timing that the municipality SHOULD be following. You can find the equation and a table with explanations on page 139 of the ITE Signal Timing Manual. You can also find that information and the guidelines used to establish the variables in the NCHRP Manual, around page 50 iirc.

Once you've looked up that information, you can use a stopwatch or camera to record the time (video is better as you can discern time by breaking it down by frame rate) and compare it to the calculated minimums established by the aforementioned publications and see whether they are cheating the public so to speak on time. If they are, then you have a plausible case for not stopping.

I can tell you this because my wife got nailed at a redlight, and she had the same thoughts. After a bit of research, I calculated the values they should have used in accordance with the posted speed and my state's ordinances and found they were under by .3 seconds and had the case dismissed. It comes down to whether the municipality has leeway to adjust timing outside of the established nationally recognized values that are in the manuals I listed earlier. In my state's case, they do not unless they apply and are granted a waiver by the DOT, which after making a phone call and receiving confirmation e-mail, I discovered they had not and had illegally lowered the yellow duration below national standards. I suggest you visit Municode to find that information out.
 

mtrsprt

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The white line..... If your front tires are over it before the traffic light turns red, you are OK to pass through under caution as always. If you have to speed up to do this, you were 1. Going to fast.... or 2. Going to fast... or 3. Not preparing yourself to coast to an intersection where you know the light is going to change within a few seconds. (When you see other traffic stopped from a 90* traffic light).
 

RedRocketMike

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I believe there are standards for yellow light time. In my experience it seems to be 3 seconds. I have read about areas timing them shorter to generate more red light camera revenue...
 

RDJ

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nice bump of a 5 month old dead thread ...

The white line..... If your front tires are over it before the traffic light turns red, you are OK to pass through under caution as always. If you have to speed up to do this, you were 1. Going to fast.... or 2. Going to fast... or 3. Not preparing yourself to coast to an intersection where you know the light is going to change within a few seconds. (When you see other traffic stopped from a 90* traffic light).
 

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