Tips From for Anticipating a Yellow Light blog:Tips From for Anticipating a Yellow Light

Red means stop and green means go, but what does yellow really mean on the traffic light? Well, that depends on several different factors, such as your speed, distance from the intersection and the traffic around you. Find out how to avoid that awkward traffic stop for running through a yellow light by predicting the traffic light pattern.

Look At The Crosswalk Sign

The blinking sign at the corner where pedestrians cross the intersection shows a person walking in white lights, letting walkers know they can cross the street running parallel to the street you’re driving on. When the pedestrian signal starts blinking a red hand, sometimes with a visible countdown, that tells you the traffic light in front of you is about to turn yellow. If you’re almost at the intersection, then you should be safe to cross the light without running a red light. If the blinking red hand or countdown timer starts while you’re still far behind the line, then you should prepare to slow down for the yellow light and stop at the red light.

Know the Yellow Light Duration

The team at recommends you find out the duration of a yellow light in your local driving area. A yellow light generally lasts somewhere between two and four seconds. The duration of a yellow light differs from state to state and may even vary between counties or cities. You can find this information online or, next time you’re driving, take note of how long the yellow lights last on your route to work or school. Knowing how long a yellow light lasts can help you avoid running a red light if you’re far enough away to hit the brakes, or help you determine if you’re close enough to cross through the intersection.

Pay Attention To Turn Signals

Left turn signals are often a good indicator of what the main traffic light ahead of you will be doing next. If the left turn signal is green at the same time as the main traffic light, then chances are the two lights are in sync with each other, or at least follow closely. Usually, a left turn signal will turn yellow just one or two seconds before the main light does, too. The experts at recommend using these signals to determine if you can pass the intersection safely or figure out if you should push down on the brakes and slow down to a stop. Sometimes the left turn signals turn yellow to red long before the main traffic light does. This is good to let you know the green light you have will last an ample amount of time and chances are you’ll miss a yellow light altogether.

Look For Caution Signs

The team at has noted that more and more roads are adopting signs and signals that warn drivers when a traffic light change is about to occur. These signs are often used in areas where it’s hard to see the traffic light ahead until you’re right in front of it. When you see one of these signs (usually flashing a yellow light), you should be prepared for a yellow light on the main traffic signal and be ready to slow down.

Determine A ‘Stale’ Green Light

The experts at define a stale green light as one that you did not see change to green. That means you don’t know how long it’s been green, and that means you don’t know how close it is to a yellow light. However, chances are, if you didn’t see the light turn green, then it’s been so for a substantial amount of time, which means a yellow light is highly likely to come around. Determining a stale green light can help you predict if you’re too far to make it through the intersection if it turns yellow.