What you should do at traffic lights when power is out - CBS46 News

What you should do at traffic lights when power is out

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

Traffic lights are still out in many places in metro Atlanta after Tropical Storm Irma moved through Georgia, which is creating a real danger at busy intersections.

Anytime you come to a place where the traffic light is out, you should treat it like a four-way stop sign. You should come to a full stop, whether another car is coming or not, and yield to anyone who was there before you. The same is true of intersections where all four sides are flashing red light.

Sometimes when power is out, one side of the traffic light is flashing yellow and the other is flashing red. It's in those places where police warn against another common mistake. Some drivers will stop at a flashing yellow light, but police say you shouldn't. Flashing yellow lights mean slow down, but keep going. Stopping, even if it's meant to be polite, may confuse other drivers and, ironically, make the situation even more dangerous.

Some drivers wonder why all intersections are not four-way flashing red lights to keep things consistent. Traffic planners made their decisions based on a desire to keep more heavily traveled routes from becoming too congested. But in so doing, they've added an extra thing to worry about.

On Tuesday, every light was back on at the corner of Commerce and Ponce De Leon in Decatur except the traffic signal. Our cameras recorded 32 drivers failing to yield the right of way correctly in a span of fifteen minutes, and our crew witnessed a fender bender accident. Hours earlier, Decatur Police say a man crossing the street in a wheel chair was hit by a car.

CBS46 is asking metro Atlanta governments why more power outage safeguards for traffic lights don't exist, like solar powered back up.

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