Driving in traffic today can be hazardous under any circumstances. When a stop light goes out, or other unusual situations develop, the risk can become even more significant. The following are some tips to help you navigate safely in some uncommon traffic situations.
General Rules for Navigating Traffic
When you get behind the wheel and venture out into traffic, presence of mind plays a vital role in your safety. Here are four items to be mindful of in traffic:
- Stay alert and focused on your driving. Even if you are stuck at a complete stop in a traffic jam, don’t let your mind wander. Remain aware of your surroundings so you can react quickly in any situation.
- Maintain a safe distance from the car ahead. A lot of stopping and starting goes on in heavy traffic. You can reduce your risk of a collision by keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. And remember, the faster you are traveling, the more space you will need to stop.
- Try to remain patient. Road rage and aggressive driving have caused many tragic accidents. If you find yourself crawling along or at a dead stop because of road construction or an accident ahead, listen to some good music, think positive thoughts, or do whatever it takes to keep your cool.
- Use your turn signals. If you need to change lanes or turn left or right, use your turn signals to let other drivers around you know your intentions. Otherwise, they may not react in time to avoid a crash.
What to Do When a Stoplight Goes Out
A power outage can put a stoplight out of commission, so drivers are left with flashing red lights in all directions. In this situation, treat the stoplight like a four-way stop. The rules are simple:
- The first vehicle to arrive at the intersection goes first.
- If two vehicles arrive at the intersection simultaneously, the one on the right goes first.
- If two vehicles traveling in opposite directions arrive at the same time, they may both proceed straight through the intersection simultaneously. If one of the drivers is making a left turn, that driver yields to the driver who is going straight.
- All the drivers at the intersection are required to yield to pedestrians.
Drivers are not always familiar with these rules, so you should not assume other drivers know the rules. When you are approaching an intersection with a traffic signal outage, be sure other drivers come to a complete stop before you proceed.
When the power goes out, flashing red lights are generated by backup power, which can last for up to eight hours. If power is not restored within that time, signals go out entirely. The intersection should also be treated as a four-way stop in this situation.
Make Sure You Have Enough Auto Insurance
No matter how diligently you drive, accidents happen every day, in uncommon and normal traffic conditions. It makes sense to protect yourself from liability, bodily injury, or damage to your vehicle in case of a crash. Our friendly agent can help you ensure you have the auto insurance coverage you need.