Driver and pedestrian rules: Traffic control signals

Traffic control signals include stoplights and walk/don’t walk signs, called pedestrian signals. In Florida, there are specific rules regarding the right of way for both pedestrians and drivers in relation to traffic signals. To avoid auto-pedestrian accidents, it is essential that drivers and pedestrians understand and follow all traffic signal laws.

It is fairly clear that drivers approaching a traffic light must obey the light as follows: red means stop, yellow means yield and green means go. However, drivers must also be aware of the laws regarding who has the right of way as stated in the 2016 Florida Statutes.

If pedestrians are in the process crossing the street, a vehicle turning left on a green light must yield the right of way to them. In a right turn on red scenario, any pedestrians who are already in the roadway have the right of way over the vehicle turning. Vehicles must be stopped before the crosswalk and not enter the crosswalk until they are ready to move forward and no pedestrians are crossing.

Stoplights are not just for drivers though. According to state law, pedestrians must also obey them. A yellow light means pedestrians cannot enter the roadway because there will not be enough time to cross the road before traffic begins to move. Pedestrians must yield to traffic turning left on a green turn light. This is also true at an intersection where the light is green for traffic running parallel to pedestrians. Pedestrians only have the right of way on solid green. If the light is red, then it means not to cross, except when there is a green turn light.

Pedestrian signs, those which indicate that pedestrians may or may not cross the street, are installed to help assure safety, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. Most people know that when a pedestrian sign shows “walk,” pedestrians have the right of way and may cross the street. The “don’t walk” signal means no pedestrian should try to cross the roadway. When the sign begins flashing, this indicates no new pedestrians should enter the roadway at this point.

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