Traffic control signals are imperative for organizing the flow of traffic and preventing collisions. Running a red light can lead to a catastrophic intersection accident, such as a T-bone collision. In Pennsylvania, the law is clear in requiring motorists to come to complete stops at red traffic lights. Unfortunately, not all drivers understand or obey the law – resulting in devastating car accidents.
Who Has to Stop at Red Lights?
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, all motorists must stop when traffic control signals are displaying steady red lights. Drivers must stop before crossing the marked stop line or crosswalk painted on the road. Driving over the line or into a crosswalk at a red light can result in a pedestrian collision. If there are no painted lines, drivers must stop before entering the intersection.
With a flashing red light, drivers should proceed as if approaching a four-way stop sign. They should come to complete stops before the line, then yield the right-of-way to the driver who arrived at the intersection first. A yellow light is a warning sign that red light is about to appear. When yellow light is showing, drivers must slow down and prepare to stop for the red light. A driver may go through a yellow light if he or she cannot stop safely before entering the intersection. A steady green light means a driver may proceed through the intersection without stopping or slowing.
Can You Turn Right on Red?
Yes, a driver may make a right turn at a red light, unless there is a “No Turn On Red” signposted. The driver must come to a stop first, check for pedestrians and other traffic, and only proceed with the right turn when it is safe to do so. The same rules apply when turning left at a red light if the driver is turning from a one-way street onto another one-way street. There are not many red arrows in Pennsylvania, but they mean that a driver may not turn in the direction that the arrow is pointing – even to make a right turn on red.
Who Has the Right-of-Way at an Intersection?
At an intersection with an operating traffic control signal, the motorist with the steady green light has the right to proceed across the intersection. Drivers who are turning left or right at a green light must yield to pedestrian traffic that is crossing the road. If an intersection has a four-way stop sign instead of a stoplight, the driver who arrives first has the right-of-way. If multiple drivers approach the intersection at the same time, the driver to the right may proceed.
Penalties for Running Red Lights
Failing to stop at a red light is a moving violation. It can result in a traffic ticket and fine, as well as three points on the driver’s license. If a driver in Pennsylvania accumulates six or more points in a short period of time, it can result in the suspension of the driver’s license. Getting a ticket for running a red light can also result in higher car insurance premiums.
Exceptions to the Rule
In 2016, Pennsylvania passed a red-light law that permits drivers to go through red lights if the light appears broken or is malfunctioning. In this situation, drivers must stop and check to see if it is safe to proceed. Only then may they go through the light. This law was passed to address red light sensors that are unable to detect motorcycle traffic.
What to Do if You Get Injured in a Red-Light Accident
If you get injured in an accident where a motor vehicle driver illegally ran a red light, contact a car accident attorney in Pittsburgh right away. Although Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, there is an exception for serious injuries that can allow you to hold the at-fault driver accountable for running the red light. It is important to consult with a car accident lawyer before you accept an insurance settlement. A third-party claim could result in greater financial compensation for your losses, depending on the circumstances.