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Thread: How long to wait before going through a malfunctioning traffic signal?

  1. #1
    Buttercup's Avatar
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    How long to wait before going through a malfunctioning traffic signal?

    Recently I was stopped at a red light, waiting to make a right turn. I think there's a red light camera at this intersection and right turn on red is not allowed at any time (quite often there's also a police officer standing on the sidewalk but not on that particular day). This traffic light is normally a little over 2 minutes - I've sat through it many times and have timed it - but it became obvious that the light was malfunctioning and remained red for much longer than usual. There was no traffic behind me and I waited for what would have been roughly 3-4 cycles before turning. I've been checking my mail to see if I'll receive a red-light ticket.

    Is there any kind of reasonable/acceptable length of time to wait in a situation like that? It couldn't be treated as a 4-way stop because the light facing the other direction was constantly green.




  2. #2
    lewisipso's Avatar
    lewisipso is offline Injustice/Indifference/In God we trust
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    I likely would have done the same thing and then called to report the malfunction.
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    gopherpuckfan's Avatar
    gopherpuckfan is offline I'm from the government and I'm here to help
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    I'm sure you can apply the "reasonable person" (what would a reasonable person think?) rule to it and, like Lew said, call to report it. Case in point, motorcycles here can go through a red light if there's no other traffic around and they're not tripping the loop sensor in the pavement.
    The views expressed in the above post are the sole opinion of the author and do not reflect any official position by the author's employer and/or municipality.

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    Odd
    Odd is offline Cosmonaut Trainer
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    Law I'll leave to others, tricking the sensor I'll take. I run into this a lot when I'm the only motorist waiting. I've found if I back up a car length, give it a five beat and then pull ahead again it usually trips the sensor.

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    berserk is offline The reason they do psych evals
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    Since there is no exception written into the law for this, you're taking a chance. Especially if there's a photo enforcement system there.

    If there's no traffic (and no camera), then I usually treat red lights like stop signs. I give them a little more time than that, but absent any safety concerns I'm not about to just chill in the street because I didn't happen to trigger the sensor.

  6. #6
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Virginia just made an exception.
    B. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if a driver of a motorcycle or moped or a bicycle rider approaches an intersection that is controlled by a traffic light, the driver or rider may proceed through the intersection on a steady red light only if the driver or rider (i) comes to a full and complete stop at the intersection for two complete cycles of the traffic light or for two minutes, whichever is shorter, (ii) exercises due care as provided by law, (iii) otherwise treats the traffic control device as a stop sign, (iv) determines that it is safe to proceed, and (v) yields the right of way to the driver of any vehicle approaching on such other highway from either direction.
    So, in Virginia -- the answer is 2 cycles or 2 minutes on a motorcycle. I'd probably use similar standards for a car that missed the sensors or otherwise wasn't tripping them.
    berserk likes this.
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  7. #7
    Buttercup's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses! I do kind of feel like an idiot for not calling to report it.




 

 

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