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Yellow Lights: to Run or to Stop. That is the Question.

Road rage is a real issue in today’s world. Some of it is the result of people having different understandings of traffic laws. I’m going to address one of those laws today. There are far too many to discuss them all in one post.

My husband and I disagree on what a yellow traffic light means. He thinks it means we need to hit the gas and get through the intersection. I think it means we need to slow down and stop unless we are already at the intersection. I decided to find out what Missouri law says about it since it’s been a few decades since I took my drivers test, and my memory could be fuzzy.

According to the official Driver Guide at that Missouri Department of Revenue, “A steady yellow light tells you the traffic signal is changing from green to red. Stop for a steady yellow light unless you are within the intersection or are so close that you cannot safely stop before entering the intersection.” A flashing yellow light indicates you need to slow down and be cautious, but it’s not an indicator to stop.

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I usually go ahead and go through a yellow light if I’m relatively close to the line when the light changes from green. However, if I’m more than a few yards from the intersection, I stop at the line. My husband gets really upset with me when I stop for yellow lights.

I was in a car accident that resulted in the total loss of my vehicle when I was rear-ended at a traffic light. The man behind me was simply distracted. It was the first day of school. He had just dropped off his kids and was worried about being late to work. He didn’t see the light change or me stop. We were both late to work that day.

He tried to stop once he noticed me sitting at the light, which was red by then. I heard his tires squealing the entire time he pushed me all the way through the intersection and past the traffic line on the opposite side. He told me he had no idea how fast he was going because he had a lot on his mind and wasn’t paying attention.

If I had taken the yellow light, I would have avoided the accident. That’s my husband’s point. He worries for my safety. A drunk driver ran me off the road when I was a teen. As a result of that accident when I was young, I’m not as spry as I should be for my age. He’s afraid that one more little crash could have dire consequences for me. I really can’t blame him, but I’m still going to stop for yellow lights if I’m a good distance away when it changes from green. I sure don’t want to be sideswiped because I ran a light and someone didn’t see me.

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