Poll: Flashing yellow light while driving, What to do?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities

You see a flashing yellow traffic signal at an up coming intersection. The flashing yellow light means:

Stop before entering the intersection as long as you can do so safely
10
2%
Stop. Yield to all cross traffic before crossing the intersection
6
1%
Stop. Yield to all cross traffic before crossing the intersection
6
1%
Slow down and cross the intersection carefully
208
47%
Slow down and cross the intersection carefully
208
47%
 
Total votes : 438

Poll: Flashing yellow light while driving, What to do?

Postby livesoft » Sat May 28, 2011 7:10 am

Here's one for Munchkin Man and everybody else.

An article in the NYTimes discusses a survey that finds folks don't know the rules of driving and would fail a driver's license test.
http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05 ... dont-know/

Here is the question that trips people up:

You see a flashing yellow traffic signal at an up coming intersection. The flashing yellow light means:
Stop before entering the intersection as long as you can do so safely
Stop. Yield to all cross traffic before crossing the intersection
Slow down and cross the intersection carefully

So in an effort to determine if Bogleheads are better than average drivers, here's a poll with the same question. (I would claim the answers are ambiguously nuanced, but you can have your say.)

Note that "None of the above" was not a choice in the survey, so it is not a choice here either.
It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
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Postby Triple digit golfer » Sat May 28, 2011 8:02 am

I have no idea. I've never seen one. I'm going to guess the slow down one because if they wanted you to stop, it'd probably be red or say "STOP." Just a hunch.
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Postby interplanetjanet » Sat May 28, 2011 8:15 am

These are common out here at fairly rural crossings. The meaning in California is "proceed with caution" - you are not directed to slow down, though you should if necessary to ensure a safe transit of the intersection.

CVC 21457(b) Flashing yellow (caution signal): When a yellow lens is illuminated with rapid intermittent flashes, a driver may proceed through the intersection or past the signal only with caution.


Given those choices I'd have to take the third. What state was this for?

-Janet
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Postby livesoft » Sat May 28, 2011 8:21 am

No particular state.

I think a flashing yellow in general means 'yield to vehicles in the intersection or about to enter the intersection. Be careful!', so one would only stop if they would be hit if they drove into the intersection, but technically they would not simply always "Slow down and cross the intersection carefully" because they might get killed occasionally if they did that.

But I have seen:

a. Flashing yellow lights in front of fire stations.
b. Flashing yellow lights when the cross traffic has no lights.
c. Flashing yellow lights when the cross traffic has flashing red lights.
It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
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Postby jeffyscott » Sat May 28, 2011 8:43 am

My understanding is that it means the same thing as a yield sign.

Flashing red means the same thing as a stop sign.

Many years ago in the Boston area they would have some flashing green lights. I don't know what that was supposed to mean. You would think that the cross street would have flashing red or at least yellow in that case, but I think transplanted relatives who lived there at the time told us that was not necessarily the case that the cross street might also be flashing green?

An odd thing in my state is they will have regular, functioning traffic light but then put a permanent stop sign in the right turn lane :? .
Last edited by jeffyscott on Sat May 28, 2011 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Boglenaut » Sat May 28, 2011 8:49 am

jeffyscott wrote:My understanding is that it means the same thing as a yield sign.


Nope. They've been doing construction on our street for a year. We have a flashing red light and the main street has a flashing yellow. The flashing red is like a stop sign. The yellow is caution, but they don't yield to us.
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Postby FafnerMorell » Sat May 28, 2011 8:54 am

Flashing yellow: Be prepared for the person in front of you to slam on the brakes suddenly. Watch for anyone coming from the side - if that happens, stop and take a picture, because that almost never happens (much like the "Watch for ice on bridge" signs in Houston. If there's ice on the bridge, better take note because it will be a few years before that happens again.
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Postby jeffyscott » Sat May 28, 2011 9:03 am

Boglenaut wrote:We have a flashing red light and the main street has a flashing yellow. The flashing red is like a stop sign. The yellow is caution, but they don't yield to us.


Yes, that is what I would do in that case too, flashing yellow gets to go, while flashing red has to stop...so I guess, I don't really see it as "yield". I had voted "Slow down and cross the intersection carefully"...which is also not the same thing as "yield".

I think Americans mostly treat "yield" signs the same way as a flashing yellow, though. They don't really yield, generally. Don't really stop at stop signs either. Stop signs are treated as if they are yield signs in many cases.
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Re: Poll: Flashing yellow light while driving, What to do?

Postby petrico » Sat May 28, 2011 9:09 am

livesoft wrote:Here's one for Munchkin Man and everybody else.

An article in the NYTimes discusses a survey that finds folks don't know the rules of driving and would fail a driver's license test.
http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05 ... dont-know/

Here is the question that trips people up:

You see a flashing yellow traffic signal at an up coming intersection. The flashing yellow light means:
Stop before entering the intersection as long as you can do so safely
Stop. Yield to all cross traffic before crossing the intersection
Slow down and cross the intersection carefully

So in an effort to determine if Bogleheads are better than average drivers, here's a poll with the same question. (I would claim the answers are ambiguously nuanced, but you can have your say.)

Note that "None of the above" was not a choice in the survey, so it is not a choice here either.

I'd be looking for a "None of the above" choice.

From the FHWA's 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices:

Page 452 2009 Edition
E. Flashing yellow signal indications shall have the following meanings:
1. Vehicular traffic, on an approach to an intersection, facing a flashing CIRCULAR YELLOW
signal indication is permitted to cautiously enter the intersection to proceed straight through or
turn right or left or make a U-turn except as such movement is modified by lane-use signs, turn
prohibition signs, lane markings, roadway design, separate turn signal indications, or other
traffic control devices.
Such vehicular traffic, including vehicles turning right or left or making a U-turn, shall
yield the right-of-way to:
(a) Pedestrians lawfully within an associated crosswalk, and
(b) Other vehicles lawfully within the intersection.
In addition, vehicular traffic turning left or making a U-turn to the left shall yield the right-ofway
to other vehicles approaching from the opposite direction so closely as to constitute an immediate
hazard during the time when such turning vehicle is moving across or within the intersection.

4. When a flashing CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication(s) is displayed as a beacon
(see Chapter 4L) to supplement another traffic control device, road users are notified that there
is a need to pay extra attention to the message contained thereon or that the regulatory or
warning requirements of the other traffic control device, which might not be applicable at all
times, are currently applicable.

Nothing in there about slowing down.

--Pete
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Postby ShowMeThe... » Sat May 28, 2011 9:12 am

Many years ago in the Boston area they would have some flashing green lights. I don't know what that was supposed to mean.


Knowing Boston, I think it means "we had a power failure"

I think a flashing yellow in general means 'yield to vehicles in the intersection or about to enter the intersection. Be careful!', so one would only stop if they would be hit if they drove into the intersection,


I would like to think that if you were going to be hit if you drove into the intersection, you'd stop anyway. The color of the light would be irrelevant.

Laws of Physics > Traffic signs! :P
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Postby northend » Sat May 28, 2011 9:18 am

From the Washington state drivers license guide.

A flashing yellow traffic light means slow down and
proceed with caution.


http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/driverguide.pdf

Its a good idea to review your state's divers guide every few years.
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Postby nisiprius » Sat May 28, 2011 9:19 am

One of my pet peeves is that those "welcome centers" you often encounter just after crossing into a state--rest rooms, vending machines, sometimes a free highway map, and racks and racks and racks of tourist literature--do not have any guide to the traffic laws of the state you are entering.

They really ought to have a little summary guide to, say, "New Jersey and Pennsylvania Traffic Law Differences." And, at least while they still have toll booths, they probably ought to stuff it in your hand when you go through the toll booth...

And a related issue is the difficulty of getting brain updates on changes in the traffic laws of one's own state. I memorized a bunch o' garbage on the traffic laws of New York as of about 1960--stuff like "When you move, you must notify the Motor Vehicles department within a) 30 days, b) 60 days, c) 90 days." And that's it.

Any changes in the last five decades I've picked up by osmosis.
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Re: Poll: Flashing yellow light while driving, What to do?

Postby jeffyscott » Sat May 28, 2011 9:25 am

petrico wrote:Nothing in there about slowing down.

--Pete



I think most would say that in order to cautiously enter the intersection..., you would slow down a bit. You don't have to brake, but maybe take your foot off the gas and, by coasting a bit, slow down as you approach the intersection?
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Postby nisiprius » Sat May 28, 2011 9:27 am

Got 95%, got the corrrect answer to the question livesoft quoted, but blew "A traffic light with a flashing red signal means: yield, stop, caution?"

Now, here's an absolutely genuine question, and one that's of real practical importance. You are stopped at a red light behind other drivers, and with a long line of drivers behind you. It stays red for so long that it is patently clear the light is malfunctioning. One at a time, the drivers ahead of you drive slowly and cautiously through the red light, with toots of the horn. According to the law, what should you do?

a) Remain frozen in place until someone comes and repairs the light?

b) Make a U-turn, cautiously, and seek an alternate route?

c) Drive slowly and cautiously through the red light, with toots of your horn?
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Postby jeffyscott » Sat May 28, 2011 9:42 am

I got 100%, not that I necessarily always drive in the way that I answered.

My favorite question:
When you tailgate other drivers (drive close to their rear bumper)


I think the unfortunate reality is "Your actions cannot result in a traffic citation"

and most drivers must believe that " You help reduce traffic congestion" is the correct answer.
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Re: Poll: Flashing yellow light while driving, What to do?

Postby petrico » Sat May 28, 2011 9:46 am

jeffyscott wrote:
petrico wrote:Nothing in there about slowing down.

--Pete


I think most would say that in order to cautiously enter the intersection..., you would slow down a bit. You don't have to brake, but maybe take your foot off the gas and, by coasting a bit, slow down as you approach the intersection?

A reasonable interpretation. After northend's quote from WA, I checked out our CT Driver's Manual, and it said exactly the same thing: "A flashing yellow traffic light means slow down and proceed with caution."

I thought all states were supposed to follow the MUTCD. At least they seem to be consistent.

--Pete
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Postby SP-diceman » Sat May 28, 2011 10:03 am

Reminds me of a George Carlin joke.

He’s the passenger in a car with a friend driving.
Friend drives right through a red light at an intersection.
Carlin says “what are you doing”?
Driver says “relax my brother does this all the time”.

Come up to another intersection, Carlin cringes as they go through the red light without stopping.
Driver says “relax my brother does this all the time”.

Finally, Carlin relaxes as the next intersection is green.
The driver slows down, stops, looks both ways, and proceeds through the intersection.
Carlin says “the light was green, why didn’t you just go through”?
Driver says “what are you nuts, my brother might be driving in the other direction“.


Thanks
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Postby livesoft » Sat May 28, 2011 10:10 am

jeffyscott wrote:Many years ago in the Boston area they would have some flashing green lights. I don't know what that was supposed to mean.

Flashing green is a pedestrian-controlled cross walk usually not at an intersection. So if a pedestrian presses the button to cross the street the flashing green light will turn red.
It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
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Postby SP-diceman » Sat May 28, 2011 10:35 am

I’ve only seen flashing yellow lights very late at night.
(middle of the night)
Always impressed me as some type of “default setting” late at night.
The road people know many wont be on the road so it wont create too much confusion.

Why should you have to stop at an intersection, and wait for traffic to pass when its 3:30 am
and you’re the only one at the intersection?



Thanks
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Postby jeffyscott » Sat May 28, 2011 10:39 am

SP-diceman wrote:Reminds me of a George Carlin joke...

Thanks
SP-diceman


Thank you, that was a good one. :lol:
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Postby Tortoise » Sat May 28, 2011 11:00 am

We have a pedestrian crossing with flashing yellow lights on both sides of a nearby busy street. It is located about an eighth mile each way from intersections that have traffic lights. There are manual triggers for the crossing lights on polls at each side of the street. So, when I see a flashing yellow light, I always slow and make sure pedestrian(s) are exiting the crosswalk. Obviously, I stop if they are entering the crosswalk.

There are also flashing yellow lights in construction zones, as well as on top of police cars and tow trucks. Those ones mean slow down and proceed with caution.

There is a recently passed law here that if driving on roads with multiple lanes in the same direction, drivers must try to merge away from the shoulder where yellow lights, police cars, etc., are located. The exception is if merging would not be safe. In other words, most people ignore this law. :shock:
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Re: Poll: Flashing yellow light while driving, What to do?

Postby Fallible » Sat May 28, 2011 11:01 am

The manual used in a defensive driving course I took simply says flashing yellow light or arrow means caution and to "move through the intersection with caution. Yield the right-of-way to vehicles and pedestrians already in the intersection."

I have always slowed down on flashing yellow and, even though I'm apparently not required to, will continue to do so and hope others do, too (one can always hope...). Is there a better way to exercise "caution"?
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Postby Harold » Sat May 28, 2011 12:02 pm

nisiprius wrote:Got 95%, got the corrrect answer to the question livesoft quoted, but blew "A traffic light with a flashing red signal means: yield, stop, caution?"

Now, here's an absolutely genuine question, and one that's of real practical importance. You are stopped at a red light behind other drivers, and with a long line of drivers behind you. It stays red for so long that it is patently clear the light is malfunctioning. One at a time, the drivers ahead of you drive slowly and cautiously through the red light, with toots of the horn. According to the law, what should you do?

a) Remain frozen in place until someone comes and repairs the light?

b) Make a U-turn, cautiously, and seek an alternate route?

c) Drive slowly and cautiously through the red light, with toots of your horn?

I would suspect the law says to treat it the same as if the light were malfunctioning such that it didn't display any light/color at all.

I'll leave it as a question for the readers to say what to do there. (Most drivers seem not to know -- and this is a pretty important thing.)
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Postby chaz » Sat May 28, 2011 12:21 pm

A flashing yellow traffic light means slow down and
proceed with caution.
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Postby Rick_29T9W » Sat May 28, 2011 12:56 pm

I do not recall ever having seen a flashing yellow light. I have also never seen one of those pedestrian crossing with flashing yellow lights, that tortoise described. The local traffic lights sometimes flash red, after a summer thunder storm has caused a power failure, but that is a flashing red light, not a flashing yellow light.

Apparently, they do not have flashing yellow lights were I live. Is that something that I can expect to encounter when traveling to other parts of the country? I agree with nisiprius, that the “welcome centers” should have a guide to the traffic laws of the state you are entering.

So, are flashing yellow lights different than a yield sign? Chaz said that a “a flashing yellow traffic light means slow down and proceed with caution.” That sounds like a flashing yellow light is slightly different than what a yield signs means. Here in northern Arizona, we use yield signs or traffic that is entering a traffic circle. The yield signs remind people entering the traffic circle, that they do not have the right of way. The people already in the traffic circle has the right of way, and they do not have a yield sign.
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Postby chaz » Sat May 28, 2011 12:59 pm

Rick_29T9W wrote:I do not recall ever having seen a flashing yellow light. I have also never seen one of those pedestrian crossing with flashing yellow lights, that tortoise described. The local traffic lights sometimes flash red, after a summer thunder storm has caused a power failure, but that is a flashing red light, not a flashing yellow light.

Apparently, they do not have flashing yellow lights were I live. Is that something that I can expect to encounter when traveling to other parts of the country? I agree with nisiprius, that the “welcome centers” should have a guide to the traffic laws of the state you are entering.

So, are flashing yellow lights different than a yield sign? Chaz said that a “a flashing yellow traffic light means slow down and proceed with caution.” That sounds like a flashing yellow light is slightly different than what a yield signs means. Here in northern Arizona, we use yield signs or traffic that is entering a traffic circle. The yield signs remind people entering the traffic circle, that they do not have the right of way. The people already in the traffic circle has the right of way, and they do not have a yield sign.


"Yield" is not a flashing yellow traffic light.
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Postby Jacotus » Sat May 28, 2011 1:06 pm

nisiprius wrote:Got 95%, got the corrrect answer to the question livesoft quoted, but blew "A traffic light with a flashing red signal means: yield, stop, caution?"

Now, here's an absolutely genuine question, and one that's of real practical importance. You are stopped at a red light behind other drivers, and with a long line of drivers behind you. It stays red for so long that it is patently clear the light is malfunctioning. One at a time, the drivers ahead of you drive slowly and cautiously through the red light, with toots of the horn. According to the law, what should you do?

a) Remain frozen in place until someone comes and repairs the light?

b) Make a U-turn, cautiously, and seek an alternate route?

c) Drive slowly and cautiously through the red light, with toots of your horn?

I'm not sure I agree that this question has practical importance. I don't think choices a) and b) are reasonable, and I also don't think anyone would get punished for doing choice c), regardless of what the law is.
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Postby jeffyscott » Sat May 28, 2011 1:14 pm

Rick_29T9W wrote:Apparently, they do not have flashing yellow lights were I live. Is that something that I can expect to encounter when traveling to other parts of the country?


With regard to a regular traffic light, the ones with red, green, and yellow lights (called a "stop light" around here and I think called a "stop and go light" in some places?), in most places I think those only go to flashing yellow in the middle of the night, so you won't see them if you never drive around at 2 am or so.

There are also sometimes flashing yellow lights added to caution or other signs, as someone had mentioned.
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Postby avalpert » Sat May 28, 2011 1:19 pm

jeffyscott wrote:
Rick_29T9W wrote:Apparently, they do not have flashing yellow lights were I live. Is that something that I can expect to encounter when traveling to other parts of the country?


With regard to a regular traffic light, the ones with red, green, and yellow lights (called a "stop light" around here and I think called a "stop and go light" in some places?), in most places I think those only go to flashing yellow in the middle of the night, so you won't see them if you never drive around at 2 am or so.

There are also sometimes flashing yellow lights added to caution or other signs, as someone had mentioned.


They also happen when the lights system is malfunctioning - it is quite frequent around here. I have never seen all four lights flashing yellow at the same time, it is always one road having flashing yellows and one flashing red (or all flashing red) - it just turns an intersection into a stop sign one and I personally think all red lights should be flashing red lights so if there is no cross-traffic we can still go.
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Postby tbradnc » Sat May 28, 2011 1:20 pm

I know the yellow light on a regular traffic signal means STEP ON IT! :)
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Postby epilnk » Sat May 28, 2011 2:23 pm

At a practical level the flashing yellow means, "be extra careful here - there have been accidents and/or the intersection is trickier than it appears". But it doesn't mean yield; I've only seen associated with having the right of way. You should just take that right of way cautiously. Often the other road has a flashing red, which is no different from a stop sign. As far as I can tell it's the same as an ordinary intersection where only one road has a stop sign, but it warns you that the intersection is more hazardous than most.
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Postby grabiner » Sat May 28, 2011 5:10 pm

epilnk wrote:At a practical level the flashing yellow means, "be extra careful here - there have been accidents and/or the intersection is trickier than it appears". But it doesn't mean yield; I've only seen associated with having the right of way. You should just take that right of way cautiously. Often the other road has a flashing red, which is no different from a stop sign. As far as I can tell it's the same as an ordinary intersection where only one road has a stop sign, but it warns you that the intersection is more hazardous than most.


Another common use of the flashing yellow light is at a signaled intersection which does not need the signal at this time. In the middle of the night, the light will be flashing yellow on the main road so that traffic need not stop, and flashing red on the side road. During the day, the light has to turn red regularly on the main road to let traffic from the side road come through.
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Postby livesoft » Sat May 28, 2011 5:29 pm

^But some color-blind folks cannot tell the difference between flashing red and flashing yellow. Thus, they infer which is which from which is the bigger road. Or they stop on both flashing red and flashing yellow. :)
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Postby Rod Flash » Sat May 28, 2011 11:42 pm

Excellent! I've been a VA resident for most of my life, but I worked in MD for 20+ years. I've been telling my MD buddies (usually when drinking and belligerent) for all that time that their state doesn't teach them how to drive properly. Now I have proof! My biggest issue is that they aren't taught to get out of the left hand lane when they aren't passing. I even had to buy a bumper sticker that says "If I passed you on the right, you're in the wrong lane". Thanks very much, Livesoft. Now I get to say "told you so"!
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Postby Agamede » Sun May 29, 2011 12:55 am

I moved to a small town a year ago. At night, the stoplights switch to either flashing yellow or flashing red lights. At first, I stopped at both, unsure of what to do. Now I treat the flashing red as a four-way stop, but proceed through the flashing yellow as I would through an uncontrolled intersection-- i.e., nervously, but without incident. As much as it worries me, the lack of traffic control doesn't seem to be a problem. There just isn't much cross traffic, period. Flashing yellow seems to say, "Things are different right now! Stay alert." It works.
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Postby Harold » Sun May 29, 2011 1:36 pm

No doubt everyone commenting is a much better than average driver, but perhaps this should serve as a reminder that there’s much more to learn.

Look, that quiz wasn’t difficult. Though some of the answer wording could have been (and was) quibbled with, there was no subtle nuance between the “correct” answer and the incorrect ones. To anybody who knew the topic, the best choice was obvious.

Yet here we are commenting on the meanings of flashing lights, which have definitions just as distinct as the meanings of the solid lights. It’d be as if we were saying “I think red might mean stop – I’ll slow down and see if anyone’s coming just to make sure”. We’re approaching intersections operating vehicles that can cause great harm – it’s our societal obligation to instantly know something as fundamental as what a traffic light is telling us.

Though we take driving for granted, knowing the rules is important stuff. Perhaps a good use of time for all of us this weekend would be to take a few minutes and read a driver’s manual cover to cover. Probably every one of us would learn something, and given that driving is among the most dangerous activities any of us undertake, it might make all of our lives safer.
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Postby FabLab » Sun May 29, 2011 7:47 pm

To me, it means slow down and proceed with caution.
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Postby OAG » Sun May 29, 2011 8:58 pm

In Ohio it means:

"A flashing yellow signal means all traffic shall pass through the intersection with caution."

From the Ohio Driver's Manual.
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Postby greg24 » Sun May 29, 2011 10:01 pm

Just today I experienced a traffic signal I've never seen before. I was in Liberty, MO, right by the interstate after getting off to find some lunch. This was on a four-lane divided road outside mall-ish areas.

The left turn signal had three modes:

solid red left arrow, which seemed to mean "stop. we mean it."
solid green left arrow, which seemed to mean "go."
and the flashing yellow left arrow, which seemed to mean "proceed with caution, although you do have to cross a divider and two lanes of traffic, so you'd better be extra careful."
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Postby grabiner » Sun May 29, 2011 10:53 pm

greg24 wrote:Just today I experienced a traffic signal I've never seen before. I was in Liberty, MO, right by the interstate after getting off to find some lunch. This was on a four-lane divided road outside mall-ish areas.

The left turn signal had three modes:

solid red left arrow, which seemed to mean "stop. we mean it."
solid green left arrow, which seemed to mean "go."
and the flashing yellow left arrow, which seemed to mean "proceed with caution, although you do have to cross a divider and two lanes of traffic, so you'd better be extra careful."


I've never seen a flashing yellow arrow, but Maryland has several flashing red arrows, which are equivalent to flashing red lights: you must first stop, but you may then make a left turn across traffic if it is safe.
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Re: Poll: Flashing yellow light while driving, What to do?

Postby Munchkin Man » Tue May 31, 2011 11:54 am

livesoft wrote:Here's one for Munchkin Man and everybody else.

An article in the NYTimes discusses a survey that finds folks don't know the rules of driving and would fail a driver's license test.
http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05 ... dont-know/

Here is the question that trips people up:

You see a flashing yellow traffic signal at an up coming intersection. The flashing yellow light means:
Stop before entering the intersection as long as you can do so safely
Stop. Yield to all cross traffic before crossing the intersection
Slow down and cross the intersection carefully

So in an effort to determine if Bogleheads are better than average drivers, here's a poll with the same question. (I would claim the answers are ambiguously nuanced, but you can have your say.)

Note that "None of the above" was not a choice in the survey, so it is not a choice here either.


Greetings livesoft:

Thank you very much for creating this topic thread, along with the poll question, and the link to the driver's test.

The Munchkin Man got the poll question right.

Yet, the Munchkin Man only scored 80% on the entire test.

The Munchkin Man got some of those distance numbers wrong.

In the Munchkin Man's area, the Munchkin Man has always assumed that a set of flashing yellow lights, which usually work properly, means that there is some type of malfunction, and that it is the driver's responsibility to do whatever it takes before crossing the intersection carefully.

The Munchkin Man also agrees that some of the test questions and their choices are worded poorly and too vaguely.

The Munchkin Man used to enjoy composing multiple choice tests on various subjects during the Munchkin Man's spare time.

Maybe the Munchkin Man will study over Virginia's DMV Manual, compose a new and better driver's test for Virginia's drivers, and submit it to the DMV.

Good luck and safe driving to all.

Best Wishes,

Munchkin Man
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Postby ryuns » Tue May 31, 2011 12:46 pm

100% on the California test.

I'd personally like to see if the answers to questions by state uphold common stereotypes. E.g:
A pedestrian is crossing your lane but there is no crosswalk. You should:
-Make sure the pedestrian sees you, but continue driving
-Stop and let the pedestrian cross the street
-Carefully drive around the pedestrian


I'm guessing this question doesn't come up for any state without a strict pedestrian right of way law, but I still think the reflection of attitudes would be intriguing.

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An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton
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Postby grabiner » Tue May 31, 2011 9:55 pm

ryuns wrote:100% on the California test.

I'd personally like to see if the answers to questions by state uphold common stereotypes. E.g:
A pedestrian is crossing your lane but there is no crosswalk. You should:
-Make sure the pedestrian sees you, but continue driving
-Stop and let the pedestrian cross the street
-Carefully drive around the pedestrian


I'm guessing this question doesn't come up for any state without a strict pedestrian right of way law, but I still think the reflection of attitudes would be intriguing.


And the question is legally incomplete. In California (and I believe in most states), the pedestrian has the right of way at an intersection whether there is a crosswalk or not, but the driver has the right of way in mid-block. Thus the correct answer depends on information which was not included in the question statement.
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Postby Harold » Tue May 31, 2011 10:12 pm

grabiner wrote:
ryuns wrote:100% on the California test.

I'd personally like to see if the answers to questions by state uphold common stereotypes. E.g:
A pedestrian is crossing your lane but there is no crosswalk. You should:
-Make sure the pedestrian sees you, but continue driving
-Stop and let the pedestrian cross the street
-Carefully drive around the pedestrian


I'm guessing this question doesn't come up for any state without a strict pedestrian right of way law, but I still think the reflection of attitudes would be intriguing.


And the question is legally incomplete. In California (and I believe in most states), the pedestrian has the right of way at an intersection whether there is a crosswalk or not, but the driver has the right of way in mid-block. Thus the correct answer depends on information which was not included in the question statement.

Once I realized there was no mention of a crosswalk or intersection, I didn't read this as a right of way question. I read it as a safety question.

Even if the driver had right of way, there's really only one safe answer.
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Postby eriehiker » Tue May 31, 2011 10:42 pm

I think the more interesting question involves the red lights opposite the yellows.

Here's the scenario:

There is steady traffic through the yellows. A driver stops at one of the opposing reds and waits to make a left turn. Soon after, a second driver stops at the opposing red light and waits to make a right turn.

Traffic suddenly clears completely from the yellow lanes.

Which of the two stopped drivers goes first? Is it the driver who stopped first, but is making the left? Or is it the driver who stopped second, but is making the right?
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Re: Poll: Flashing yellow light while driving, What to do?

Postby BigBird » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:33 am

livesoft wrote: So in an effort to determine if Bogleheads are better than average drivers...


There's a lot more to good driving than knowing the rules... :?
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Postby sscritic » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:49 am

grabiner wrote:And the question is legally incomplete. In California (and I believe in most states), the pedestrian has the right of way at an intersection whether there is a crosswalk or not, but the driver has the right of way in mid-block. Thus the correct answer depends on information which was not included in the question statement.

That depends on your definition of crosswalk. If your definition requires paint on asphalt, then you might be correct. However, the law in California that a "crosswalk" exists at the intersection even if there is no paint on the ground. Thus, there always is a crosswalk at a California intersection, which is why the pedestrian has the right of way. Note that the no-paint definition precedes the paint definition in the CA Vehicle Code:
275. "Crosswalk" is either:

(a) That portion of a roadway included within the prolongation or connection of the boundary lines of sidewalks at intersection where the intersecting roadways meet at approximately right angles, except the prolongation of such lines from an alley across a street.

(b) Any portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface.
http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d01/vc275.htm

Paint is only required in the middle of the block.
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Postby Harold » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:44 am

eriehiker wrote:I think the more interesting question involves the red lights opposite the yellows.

Here's the scenario:

There is steady traffic through the yellows. A driver stops at one of the opposing reds and waits to make a left turn. Soon after, a second driver stops at the opposing red light and waits to make a right turn.

Traffic suddenly clears completely from the yellow lanes.

Which of the two stopped drivers goes first? Is it the driver who stopped first, but is making the left? Or is it the driver who stopped second, but is making the right?

First, I would take away any confusion caused by lights and just consider them both stop signs.

Second, I would consider them both stopped and the turning car (which we know because he has his turn signal on, right?) would need to yield to the car going straight.

However, there seems to be dispute about this opinion. I did a quick search and found what appears to be a police officer forum (http://forums.officer.com/forums/showthread.php?97000-4-way-stop-revisited) where they can't agree. The consensus in the event of a collision seems to be write a report and let the insurance companies work it out.

In that instance, I would proceed slowly, carefully, making sure the other driver knew what I was doing, and letting the other driver go if he seemed more aggressive/assertive.
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Postby Harold » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:48 am

sscritic wrote:
grabiner wrote:And the question is legally incomplete. In California (and I believe in most states), the pedestrian has the right of way at an intersection whether there is a crosswalk or not, but the driver has the right of way in mid-block. Thus the correct answer depends on information which was not included in the question statement.

That depends on your definition of crosswalk. If your definition requires paint on asphalt, then you might be correct. However, the law in California that a "crosswalk" exists at the intersection even if there is no paint on the ground. Thus, there always is a crosswalk at a California intersection, which is why the pedestrian has the right of way. Note that the no-paint definition precedes the paint definition in the CA Vehicle Code:
275. "Crosswalk" is either:

(a) That portion of a roadway included within the prolongation or connection of the boundary lines of sidewalks at intersection where the intersecting roadways meet at approximately right angles, except the prolongation of such lines from an alley across a street.

(b) Any portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface.
http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d01/vc275.htm

Paint is only required in the middle of the block.

This is true -- and most drivers seem unaware of this.

However, the question doesn't preclude a pedestrian just wandering across your lane nowhere near an intersection (though the question probably assumes an intersection of some sort).

Even if the pedestrian were totally wrong, the prudent thing to do is safely stop your vehicle (being mindful of other traffic as well).
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Postby sscritic » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:54 am

Harold wrote:
eriehiker wrote: A driver stops at one of the opposing reds and waits to make a left turn. Soon after, a second driver stops at the opposing red light and waits to make a right turn.

Second, I would consider them both stopped and the turning car (which we know because he has his turn signal on, right?) would need to yield to the car going straight.

How did three cars get to the intersection? Are there two lanes each way? :)

If there are two lanes in the direction they are both turning, then the right turner has to turn into the lane closest to the curb, leaving the other lane for the left turner. Thus, they can both turn safely at the same time. However, the left turner has the option of also turning into the curb lane, which will create a conflict. [my state law, possibly not yours]
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