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A yellow traffic light means stop

Believe it or not, in British Columbia a yellow traffic light tells you that you must stop before you enter the intersection! Yes, I know that there is one caveat to that statement, and it is "unless the stop cannot be made in safety." The onus is on the driver that does not stop for the yellow light to show that it was unsafe if they are involved in court proceedings because of their decision.

Is anyone able to tell me what a stale green light is? That's right, it's a traffic signal that will soon be turning from green to yellow. An example of a stale green light would be one that you have not seen turn green so that you don't know how long it has been that way, one that has a solid red hand "don't walk" signal facing the same direction of travel or perhaps the cross street has many vehicles waiting for the red.

The proper response when approaching a stale green light is to shadow the brake pedal. This means lifting your foot off of the accelerator and hovering it over the the brake. If a stop is needed, you are already almost there as you are beginning to slow and ready to brake.

Couple this with advance warning lights of a signal change and awareness of surrounding traffic and road conditions and the only reason to not stop at a yellow light may be that the light changed when you were so close to the intersection that you had reached the point of no return.

The author is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit www.drivesmartbc.ca.

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About the Author

Tim Schewe has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his traffic enforcement service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

E-mail your questions or concerns: [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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