Don't Get Caught Up in the Yellow Light Trap

on Monday, 20 January 2014. Posted in News

It Causes Accidents Every Day

Yellow-LightThings happen quickly out on the road, so keeping your head on a swivel is important. At Anderson Behel, we always strive to provide safety information to our customers whenever we can. You’re in the middle of a multi-lane intersection regulated by traffic lights, looking for a gap in oncoming traffic to make a left turn. You entered the intersection on a green, but now the light has turned yellow. The opposing traffic must also have a yellow, so you figure they’re going to let you make your turn, you hit the gas pedal and – whack! You’ve just had a vehicle collision.

If you’ve found yourself in this unfortunate situation, surprise! You may have been the victim of the Yellow Light Trap, also known as the “Yellow Trap,” the “Lag Trap” and the “Left-Turn Trap!”And what is the main reason—because the opposing traffic still had a green light. This scenario leads to thousands of car accidents annually, and that’s why we see a ton of cars here Anderson Behel, the premier auto body repair shop in the entire South Bay, victims of the dreaded Yellow Light Trap.

The Yellow Light Trap is a danger that has only come to the attention of traffic engineers within the last few years. According to observers, the problem is the unintended effect at some intersections of the use of new, electronic traffic light equipment. If you believe some traffic websites, neither driver is at fault. But better than determining fault would be to avoid the peril in the first place. Here’s how:

  • When waiting to make a left turn in an intersection with oncoming traffic, always assume that all the traffic that can will block your turn, regardless of the color of the light they’re looking at. That includes yellow- and red-light runners.
  • Only turn when you actually have a gap in oncoming traffic. If you entered the intersection before it turned red, in most states you have the right to complete your turn, which means crossing traffic must yield the right of way to you.
  • Avoid entering an intersection where you plan to make a left turn on a yellow light. This avoids the potential problem altogether, at least on that light sequence.
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