You probably know what it’s like to approach an intersection only to realize that a traffic light is out. If there’s no police officer directing traffic, it can be challenging to know how to proceed safely and avoid hitting another vehicle or a pedestrian.

Knowing what to do when traffic lights are out can help keep you and others safe and protect you from traffic violation penalties. Even so, accidents still happen. If you are in a car accident caused by a broken traffic signal, a Florida car accident lawyer from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath can help.

what to do when a traffic light is out

What should I do if a traffic signal is out of order?

Proceed with great caution when a traffic light is out. While you should never drive distracted, be especially attentive about navigating an intersection without working traffic signals, and follow the laws established in Florida Statute 316.1235, which explains how drivers must respond at intersections with non-working traffic signals.

Stop your vehicle

Come to a complete stop either at the marked stop line or, if there is no line, before entering the crosswalk or at the point near the intersection where you can see approaching traffic.

Since safety is the priority, you must give right-of-way to vehicles who reached the intersection before you or who approach closely or rapidly enough to pose a danger should you enter the intersection and their driving path.

Treat the intersection as a four-way stop

Statute 316.1235 instructs drivers to treat an intersection with an inoperative traffic light as a four-way stop, and follow the laws established for four-way stops in Statute 316.123.

According to this statute, the vehicle that stops at the intersection first is the one that should be the “first to proceed” through the intersection. When two or more vehicles arrive at the intersection at the same time, the vehicle on the left must give right-of-way to the vehicle on its right.

Turning right on red

At most Florida intersections, it is legal to make a right turn at a red light. Since a non-working traffic light requires a stop, drivers can make a right turn after they have stopped, checked for approaching traffic, and determined it is safe to proceed.

What are the penalties for violations?

Statutes 316.1235 and 316.123 say what to do when traffic lights are out, and drivers who violate these laws can face penalties. Violations are considered non-criminal traffic infractions and are punished as moving violations under Statute 318. Depending on the specific circumstances of the violation, drivers face fines and possible points on their license, as indicated by Florida Highway and Safety Motor Vehicles (FHSMV).

How can a Florida car accident lawyer help?

If you are in an accident at an intersection with an inoperative traffic light, connect with a Florida car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney will investigate the accident to determine the at-fault party.

If another driver violated traffic laws, they may be liable for paying you compensation. Your attorney may argue those responsible for maintaining the traffic signals or putting law enforcement at the scene are also at fault and will access traffic information and other evidence to build your case.

We fight for your rights

For decades, the attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath have been fighting for victims’ rights. When you sustain injuries or property damage in an accident caused by a non-working traffic signal, we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at (561) 655-1990 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Florida car accident lawyer today.

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