What do flashing traffic signals mean?

You, like most everyone else in Pottsville, have likely come up upon a flashing traffic signal and not been quite sure of what to do. Yet if you are not sure of how to proceed at such an intersection, imagine how confused pedestrians feel. If you’re standing at an intersection whose traffic signals are flashing and are waiting to cross on foot, the uncertainty displayed by drivers may put you in great danger. Thus, it may be just as important for you as a pedestrian to understand what exactly flashing traffic signals mean.

The backup functions of traffic signals are all explained in the Department of Pennsylvania’s driver manuals. The easiest to understand is typically the non-functioning traffic light. If you see this at an intersection, then it is supposed to be treated as a 4-way stop. Confusion often enters the picture with the next two scenarios: flashing red and yellow lights. A flashing red is also supposed to be treated as stop sign. A flashing yellow, on the other hand, simply means that one must slow down, look for pedestrians, and then proceed with caution.

Another flashing light to be aware of as a pedestrian is the “DON’T WALK” signal. When flashing, it is obviously meant to indicate a coming change in the traffic light. However, it is also supposed to signal to you to not leave the curb if you have not begun to cross already.

While knowing these rules may help to increase your chances of crossing at a malfunctioning traffic light safely, it could also help in assigning liability if you are hit by a car at such an intersection.