Traffic Signal Safety


Red Light Signal

A red signal indication means that the traffic facing the indicator shall stop until the indication turns green. Although right turns are permissible at most intersections after the driver has stopped, the driver must yield to pedestrians and vehicles in their path. The City of Lakeland has posted some locations where vehicles are prohibited from making any turns on red. The locations with NO TURN ON RED signs are posted for safety reasons and the driver should not make the turn until a green indication for the direction of flow is shown.

Reminder: Do not stop on any train tracks even when the traffic signal is red!  Your best action is to keep the tracks clear.  Do not attempt to move forward if there does not appear to be sufficient room to clear the tracks.


Red Arrow Indication

A red signal with an arrow also means stop.  A driver may make a RIGHT turn after coming to a complete stop unless this movement is prohibited by “NO TURN ON RED” signs.  A driver MAY NOT make a LEFT turn on a Left-turn Red Arrow indication.  Please watch for pedestrians and bicyclists before proceeding.


Yellow Signal Indication 

Yellow signals warn drivers that the signal will change to a red indication momentarily.  If you have not already entered the intersection and can safely stop and wait for the next cycle.  If you are already in the intersection, proceed through the intersection.   Note:  A continuous flashing YELLOW left turn arrow signal indication allows motorists to turn left with caution after yielding to all opposing traffic.


Green Signal Indication

Green signals mean that the driver has the right of way at the intersection to proceed provided there are no other interferences (i.e. other vehicles ahead of your vehicle, pedestrians, or emergency vehicles). Please note that if other vehicles are still in the intersection when the light turns green, the driver must yield to those vehicles and pedestrians and the driver must ensure that all traffic in the conflicting directions has stopped before moving ahead. If making a left turn, the driver can only make the turn if there is sufficient time and space to complete the turn before oncoming traffic becomes a hazard.


Avoid Gridlock 

Avoid entrance of an intersection (on a green or yellow light) if you cannot completely cross the intersection before the light turns red. You can be cited if you block traffic in an intersection.


Train Tracks

Do not stop on the trains tracks even when the traffic signal is green! Your best action is to keep the tracks clear. Do not attempt to move forward if there does not appear to be sufficient room to clear the tracks.


Traffic Signal History


A photo of old traffic signals

Police Officer William L. Potts of Detroit, Michigan, decided to do something about the problem caused by the ever increasing number of automobiles on the streets. What he had in mind was figuring out a way to adapt railroad signals for street use. Potts used red, amber, and green railroad lights and about thirty-seven dollars worth of wire and electrical controls to make the world’s first 4-way three color traffic light. It was installed in 1920 on the corner of Woodward and Michigan Avenues in Detroit. Within a year, Detroit had installed a total of fifteen of the new automatic lights.

-Source: Ideafinder.com