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Traveling Through Intersections Safely: Green Lights

Green is the favorite light. It allows drivers to continue on their respective routes. Still, it is important to understand the signals that different kinds of green lights indicate for drivers, and to further consider the surrounding vehicles and pedestrians while passing through intersections.

green traffic lightThe green light typically means "go." A driver facing the circular green signal is allowed to proceed straight through the intersection, make a right-hand turn, make a left-hand turn, or make a U-turn. All of these actions are appropriate unless there is a sign posted prohibiting a U-turn or pedestrians obstructing the passageway while using the crosswalk. In the latter situation, the vehicle with a green light must yield to the pedestrians.

If a driver is facing a left green arrow signal, he or she may enter the intersection only to complete the movement indicated by the left green arrow light. Sometimes, green arrow lights are accompanied by other lights - such as circular green lights - in which case, the driver facing the pair of light can complete either movement. Drivers facing the left green arrow light, may make a U-turn unless a sign shows that it is prohibited.

Pedestrians must also pay attention to green lights. If a pedestrian is facing the circular green signal, or a left arrow green signal, he or she may cross cross the roadway within a marked or unmarked crosswalk. If there are other pedestrian control signals (as described in Section 21456) present, the pedestrian must also pay attention to these and noting any restrictions the signals might show. For instance, a pedestrian may face a green signal and a do-not-cross pedestrian control signal at the same time. In this case, the pedestrian must wait for the pedestrian control signal to show that it is OK to cross.

Paying attention to traffic signals is vital to the success of traveling by motor vehicle. Those on foot or in a vehicle who break laws governing traffic signals may receive fines or cause harmful accidents.

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