What should you do when a stoplight is out?

Like all other lights, stoplights do fail from time to time. While the city workers in Memphis try to get to them as soon as they can, there is a chance the light could be dead while traffic is still coming up to it. If you get to that light, what should you do?

The main rule of thumb here is to pretend you are at a four-way stop. Just drive up to it, check the other directions and take your turns with the other drivers as you would at a stop sign. Be very careful, as other drivers may not do this correctly.

It does not matter what the light would usually do. For example, even if you know that it is always a blinking yellow light and so you think you should not have to stop, you still do if it is out. You have to treat it like a four-way stop in all cases.

This can be a pretty dangerous hazard, though. Not all drivers know that they're supposed to stop. They may not have any idea how to take turns or that they can't just blow on through the light when they see that it is not red. This can easily cause an accident if just one driver goes through the intersection incorrectly, even if all of the other drivers do it the right way.

If you are hit in an accident at a broken stoplight, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. The other driver may claim he or she just did not know the law at a broken light, but that doesn't change who was at fault.

Source: Top Driver, "What to do at Stoplights," accessed July 27, 2015

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