You understand that running a red light is illegal – and dangerous. However, what about yellow lights?
What happens if you run a yellow light and cause an accident? It is technically not illegal, so what does the law have to say?
Determining fault after a yellow light accident can be complex. When a yellow light is seen, there is room for driver discretion. Red lights mean stop. Green lights mean go. Yellow lights – well, that’s debatable.
Not all drivers make the same call. Determining if your call was reasonable is crucial when determining who is at fault for an accident.
Contact our Florida car accident lawyer at Fetterman Law for assistance if you are involved in a yellow light accident. Learn more about yellow light accidents and your rights here.
Understanding the Role of Yellow Lights
Before we delve into who might be at fault in a yellow light accident, let’s first understand the role of a yellow light. According to traffic laws, a yellow light warns that the light is about to turn red.
It indicates that drivers should prepare to stop, but it does not necessarily mean stop immediately. So, when you encounter a yellow light, you must exercise caution and assess whether you have enough time and space to clear the intersection safely.
Navigating Florida’s Permissive Yellow Light Laws
Understanding traffic law nuances can be challenging, especially in ambiguous situations like yellow light accidents. Here, we discuss Florida’s stance on yellow light laws and who might be at fault in yellow light-related accidents.
Permissive vs. Restrictive Yellow Light Laws
Let’s begin by clarifying two key terms—Permissive Yellow Light Law and Restrictive Yellow Light Law.
Permissive Yellow Light Law
The permissive yellow light law means drivers can enter an intersection at any point during the yellow light phase. As long as they entered the intersection while the light was still yellow, they could be in it and proceed, even when the light turned red.
Restrictive Yellow Light Law
On the other hand, restrictive yellow light laws prohibit vehicles from entering an intersection on a yellow light unless they can clear it before it turns red. Alternatively, the vehicle can enter only if it’s impossible or unsafe to stop.
Florida’s Take: A Permissive Yellow Light State
Florida adopts a permissive yellow light approach. According to Florida Statute 316.075:
- Vehicle Traffic: If you’re a driver facing a steady yellow light, you are warned that the green light is about to end, and a red light will follow. However, you’re permitted to enter and clear the intersection.
- Pedestrians: If you’re on foot, a steady yellow light indicates you don’t have enough time to safely cross the street before the red light appears. Therefore, you should wait to start crossing at this point.
Additionally, flashing yellow lights at Florida intersections indicate that drivers should proceed cautiously, yielding to vehicles already in the intersection or approaching it.
Determining Fault in Yellow Light Accidents in Florida
Permissive yellow light laws like Florida’s make fault determination a gray area. Some situations may make fault in an accident lean to one person or another, such as:
Drivers who accelerate to ‘beat’ the yellow light might be held responsible if an accident occurs. While entering the intersection during the yellow phase is legal, recklessness can still lead to liability.
If you halt abruptly at a yellow light, causing the following vehicle to rear-end you, that driver might also share some fault for not maintaining a safe distance.
When making a left turn on a yellow light, you must yield to oncoming traffic. Failure to do so generally places the fault on the turning driver.
Why a Florida Car Accident Lawyer is Essential
Yellow light accidents often lead to conflicting narratives, making it crucial to consult a legal expert. A Florida car accident lawyer can assist in the following:
- Clarifying the Law: Navigating Florida’s permissive yellow light law can be confusing. Legal advice can simplify the complexities.
- Gathering Evidence: A lawyer can help collect important evidence, such as surveillance footage or witness statements, to substantiate your case.
- Dealing with Insurance: Insurance companies aim to minimize their payouts. Your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive fair compensation.
Florida’s permissive yellow light law complicates determining fault in yellow light accidents. Whether you’re a driver or a pedestrian, understanding these rules can be crucial for your safety and legal protection.
If you find yourself entangled in such an accident, a Fort Myers car accident lawyer can be your best ally in navigating the complexities of the law. With professional assistance, you can focus on your recovery and peace of mind. Don’t hesitate to seek legal advice if you’re involved in a yellow light accident in Florida.
Determining Fault in a Florida Yellow Light Accident
Determining who is at fault in a yellow light accident can be complicated. It often involves scrutinizing multiple aspects, like driving speed, reaction times, and traffic law adherence. Consulting a professional in the field, such as a Florida car accident lawyer, can be invaluable in clearing the fog surrounding such incidents.
Don’t let the confusion of a yellow light situation cloud your judgment or rights. Know the law, understand your rights, and seek professional help to ensure you are rightfully compensated for any losses or damages.
If you’re involved in a yellow light car accident, don’t hesitate to contact a Florida injury lawyer to guide you through the legal maze. With professional help, you can navigate the complexities and come out on top.