Flashing Lights at Intersections May Cause Texas Auto Accidents

Posted By The Carlson Law Firm || 21-Dec-2011

Have you recently come to a Texas intersection with a flashing yellow light or flashing yellow arrow and hesitated about what you were supposed to do? If so, you are probably not alone.Texas motor vehicle accidents are three times more likely at intersections with flashing lights than intersections with stop signs, according to researchers from the University of Texas.

The root cause of this increase in motor vehicle accidents has yet to be determined. One possibility is that Texas drivers aren’t sure what the flashing yellow lights mean, and this confusion results in auto accidents. Another possibility is that traffic engineers may be placing such lights at more hazardous intersections.

According to the Texas Drivers Handbook, drivers approaching flashing yellow lights are supposed to “slow down and proceed with caution.” Since these lights are less common, however, many drivers may be unaware of the appropriate driving behavior.

“The blinking, I think, also causes a sense of urgency for the driver that they didn’t have when it was the traditional green, solid yellow, [or] red pattern,” stated one Texas driving instructor. “People are slowing down before they’re going through, which means they’re exposed to the oncoming traffic a bit longer than if they maintained their speed,” he explained.

With about 40 percent of auto accidents occurring at intersections, this is an issue that deserves attention. The University of Texas researchers will be conducting a follow-up study to better determine how the most dangerous intersections can be improved.

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