Flashing Traffic Signals

Traffic Signal Warning SignA motorist will encounter three types of flashing traffic signals, red, yellow and green. Road Sense for Drivers, BC's Safe Driving Guide gives examples of each situation, but the law set out in the Motor Vehicle Act is more descriptive. Let's examine each case and see what is required.

A driver facing a flashing red light at an intersection must stop before the marked stop line or crosswalk. If neither marking is present, then the stop must be made before entering the intersection. Once stopped, you may not proceed until it is safe to do so.

If the flashing red light is not at an intersection, the driver must stop in the same manner if a stop line or crosswalk is present. If not, then the stop must be made before reaching the signal. What is different here is the requirement to have regard for the safety of pedestrian traffic on the roadway or in a crosswalk in the vicinity of the signal.

A pedestrian facing a flashing red light may proceed to cross with caution using the crosswalk at an intersection or cross the roadway when not at an intersection.

A driver facing a flashing yellow light must enter the intersection or pass the signal not at an intersection only with caution, yielding to pedestrians in the same manner as a flashing red light requires.

A driver facing a flashing green light must approach so that they are able to stop, should a stop be necessary, before reaching the crosswalk or the signal as the case may be. They must then yield to pedestrians, again in the manner specified for a flashing red light.

Pedestrians may cross at both types of signals in the same manner as at a flashing red light.

Reference:

Section 131 MVA - Flashing Lights

Signs, Signals and Road Markings - Page 37, Learn to Drive Smart

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