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The importance of stopping at flashing red lights

The many signs and symbols used to direct traffic can seem confusing to many drivers, especially those who do not have much experience. Still, it is important to utilize these devices to help ensure that areas have better traffic flow.

Of course, if a person does not know what a symbol or a flashing light means, he or she could easily take the wrong action and cause an accident. On that same note, a driver who simply chooses not to heed a direction, is impaired or distracted could also fail to abide by traffic directions and cause a serious accident that could leave you seriously injured.

What do those flashing red lights mean?

When you took your driver's test to obtain your license, you likely had to demonstrate your knowledge of roadway signs, directions and symbols. The test probably did not cover everything, however. Still, you could come to a sign or symbol that you need to understand so that you do not impede traffic or cause an accident.

In particular, you need to understand the flashing red light. You may know that a solid red light means stop, but a flashing red light also means that a driver should come to a complete stop before traveling through an intersection. These lights are typically at intersections that also have stop signs but no traffic lights that turn to green.

How long should you stop at flashing red lights?

The length of time you stop at a flashing red light may depend on the type of intersection and the vehicle and foot traffic in the area. For instance, if you are at a railroad crossing and the red light is flashing, it typically means that a train is approaching or has just passed through. Stop your vehicle at the crossing and only move forward after you ensure no train is coming. Commonly, gate arms come down to also help drivers understand when it is safe to cross the tracks.

If you come to a flashing red light at a crosswalk, you should come to a full stop until you make sure there are no pedestrians in the crosswalk. After you have stopped and the crosswalk is clear, you can proceed.

When you come to a flashing red light at an intersection of roads, come to a complete stop and determine which driver has the right-of-way before moving again. Typically, the driver who arrived first has the right-of-way. It is also important to determine whether traffic in all directions must stop. Some intersections only have stop signs or red flashing lights for certain directions, while drivers going other directions may proceed with caution and without stopping.

Were you in an accident?

Unfortunately, failing to stop at stop signs and red lights is a common cause of traffic accidents. If someone failed to stop at a flashing red light, solid red light or stop sign, and collided with your vehicle, you may have suffered serious injuries as a result. If so, you could find it useful to explore your legal options for seeking compensation for damages permitted under Georgia state law.

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