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Thread: Honestly Officer, the light was yellow!

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by pkpilot View Post
    That depends on the jurisdiction. For example, Virginia code states “Steady amber indicates that a change is about to be made in the direction of the moving of traffic. When the amber signal is shown, traffic which has not already entered the intersection, including the crosswalks, shall stop if it is not reasonably safe to continue, but traffic which has already entered the intersection shall continue to move until the intersection has been cleared.” So, yellow does not mean slow down; it does not mean go faster; it actually means stop. Accelerating to 20 over the speed limit to get past the line just before it turns red means I am going to give you a ticket, or at least a strong warning. Doing that stunt and getting a microsecond of red before you cross the line will definitely earn you some paper, at least from me.


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    "shall stop if it is not reasonably safe to continue,"I'd call that wiggle room.
    "So, yellow does not mean slow down; it does not mean go faster; it actually means stop". ...unless it is reasonably safe to continue?

    Part "B" of my question is that since they wrote that phrase into law, what situations do you suppose they had in mind? 3AM? No traffic? Interestingly it doesn't say "unless it would be dangerous to stop" such as on a motorcycle and being tailgated by car...

  2. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by rick601 View Post
    "shall stop if it is not reasonably safe to continue,"I'd call that wiggle room.
    "So, yellow does not mean slow down; it does not mean go faster; it actually means stop". ...unless it is reasonably safe to continue?

    Part "B" of my question is that since they wrote that phrase into law, what situations do you suppose they had in mind? 3AM? No traffic? Interestingly it doesn't say "unless it would be dangerous to stop" such as on a motorcycle and being tailgated by car...
    The greater danger to motorcycles comes from perpetuating the idea that yellow means “go if you think you can make it.” Having two completely different understandings about the meaning of yellow is pretty much the exact recipe for being rear-ended at intersections.

    In the vast majority of jurisdictions, yellow means “stop” with limited exceptions (discussed earlier.)

    Approaching an intersection with a stale green light calls for an expectation that the light could change to yellow at any moment. That means checking and even slowing speed in anticipation of possibly needing to brake to stop. This also gives tailgaters more warning and time to adjust their speed accordingly, helping to prevent a situation where you feel forced through an intersection on yellow by a tailgater.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorUB View Post
    Wow! So you are driving along at 30 MPH, the speed limit. 10 feet from the intersection, the light turns yellow and you are expected to stop??
    No.


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  4. #19
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    Legislators rarely have logic in mind when they craft wording. They are mostly lawyers helping other lawyers stay in business by crafting the law in a way a lawyer can get a violator off.

    Much is left to the officer’s discretion. If the officer can articulate doing something unsafe, then a conviction is possible. The same is true with red light cameras, except there is usually clear video evidence. In my jurisdiction there are stills and video along with the speed of the vehicle going through the red light. If the company (yep, the company that installs, maintains, and operates the system) believes there is a violation it gets forwarded to the police department. If the officer reviewing all that video and data also believes there is a violation, then the violator gets some mail. The person can appeal the fine to the court, and a judge will then review everything.


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  5. #20
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    Wow! So you are driving along at 30 MPH, the speed limit. 10 feet from the intersection, the light turns yellow and you are expected to stop??

    Quote Originally Posted by pkpilot View Post
    No.
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    I figured that, so the law is meaningless, poorly written. Totally up to the officer to decide. Where is the point that it is ok to enter on a yellow to where it isn't? Totally subjective.
    From the only real Fargo, ND!

  6. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by PoorUB View Post
    Wow! So you are driving along at 30 MPH, the speed limit. 10 feet from the intersection, the light turns yellow and you are expected to stop??



    I figured that, so the law is meaningless, poorly written. Totally up to the officer to decide. Where is the point that it is ok to enter on a yellow to where it isn't? Totally subjective.
    The driving rule is that yellow=stop. Everyone should plan to stop on yellow unless they are so close to the intersection entrance when the change to yellow occurs that stopping is not safely possible.

    The state code or statute allows a law enforcement officer to apply common sense discretion. It’s not intended as a “get out of jail free” card that drivers can use to avoid stopping on yellow in any situation.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by vark View Post
    The driving rule is that yellow=stop. Everyone should plan to stop on yellow unless they are so close to the intersection entrance when the change to yellow occurs that stopping is not safely possible.
    I don't find that as easy or easy to figure as the "smart" intersections are running algorithms based on traffic......around here. The recent transitions of left turns to oncoming traffic on flashing yellow arrow is rather scary. No doubt all of this is geared to reducing traffic back-ups. Not sure beyond that.
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  8. #23
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    30 mph is 44 feet per second, so if you're 10 feet from the intersection, it would take you a hair over one-quarter of a second to travel that distance. That is faster than the typical human's reaction time (perception + braking + the vehicle actually stopping), so no intelligent officer with decent perception could issue a ticket; you could fight that if he did.

    In the December 2007 issue of Motorcycle Consumer News, Dave Searle wrote an interesting piece on his detailed planning to fight a red light ticket. If it's OK with the moderators (copyright? maybe expired?), I could post it here; it's a 500K pdf.

  9. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Pauls1150 View Post
    30 mph is 44 feet per second, so if you're 10 feet from the intersection, it would take you a hair over one-quarter of a second to travel that distance. That is faster than the typical human's reaction time (perception + braking + the vehicle actually stopping), so no intelligent officer with decent perception could issue a ticket; you could fight that if he did....
    Being 10 feet from the intersection when the light turns yellow obviously falls within the exception parameters.

    As mentioned in an earlier post, many major intersections have hash/dash lines in the approaches that provide guidance on whether to proceed or stop on yellow. Unfortunately, too many drivers are unaware of their meaning/purpose.

  10. #25
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    Guidance from the Feds, which states follow or even use more restrictive rules, requires a yellow to be on 3-6 seconds based on the speed limit of the road. The numbers are based on stopping distance to include a 1.4 second reaction time. If you look at the where the white lines go from dashed to straight, that is generally a good indicator of where you should be able to stop or continue. The solid lines are usually longer where the speed limit is higher and the yellow light longer.


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  11. #26
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pkpilot View Post
    Guidance from the Feds, which states follow or even use more restrictive rules, requires a yellow to be on 3-6 seconds based on the speed limit of the road. The numbers are based on stopping distance to include a 1.4 second reaction time. If you look at the where the white lines go from dashed to straight, that is generally a good indicator of where you should be able to stop or continue. The solid lines are usually longer where the speed limit is higher and the yellow light longer.


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