Nov 9

Do You Know What To Do When A Traffic Light Is Not Working?


What to do when traffic light is not workingThis week’s weather in Tampa Bay could be interesting. With Tropical Storm Eta out in the Gulf of Mexico, we could see some challenging weather which can result in some dangerous driving conditions. One such dangerous driving condition is when a traffic light is not working during to power outages. Do you know what a driver is supposed to do if this happens? Most drivers don’t (or don’t follow the law).

When a driver approaches an intersection where a traffic light is not working, Florida law is clear on what they are required to do. Florida Statute 316.1235 states:

The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection in which the traffic lights are inoperative shall stop in the manner indicated in s. 316.123(2) for approaching a stop intersection. In the event that only some of the traffic lights within an intersection are inoperative, the driver of a vehicle approaching an inoperative light shall stop in the above-prescribed manner.

What is the “manner indicated in s. 316.123(2)?” That is the stop sign law which states:

Except when directed to proceed by a police officer or traffic control signal, every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop intersection indicated by a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection. After having stopped, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which has entered the intersection from another highway or which is approaching so closely on said highway as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection.

At a four-way stop intersection, the driver of the first vehicle to stop at the intersection shall be the first to proceed. If two or more vehicles reach the four-way stop intersection at the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.

Too many times, drivers on bigger roads (Gulf-to-Bay Blvd) feel they don’t have to stop for drivers on smaller roads (Belcher Road) when that intersection’s traffic light is not working. That is simply not the law!

If traffic lights become inoperable, drive safely and follow the law but watch out for those who don’t! Extra caution could avoid a car accident and possibly save a life.


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