A yellow or amber traffic light or arrow tells you to slow down and stop. If a driver can safely stop before reaching the stop line or traffic lights, they must stop when they approach traffic lights that are illuminated with an amber light traffic. Drivers that fail to stop at a yellow light or red light, unless it is unsafe to do so, are subject to penalties.
This article will discuss NSW traffic light rules under the Road Rules 2014, specifically the yellow lights or an amber light traffic.
Driving Through an Amber Light Traffic
The rule is that when the traffic light turns amber, drivers need to reduce their speed. Rear-end collisions could occur if you apply the brakes too rapidly, causing the vehicle behind you to react too slowly.
As a result, when the lights turn amber, if you are too close to the stop line, pay attention to oncoming traffic. Remember that vehicles must have enough time to halt at the stop line according to the amber traffic-light time settings.
Note: Red light cameras are only triggered when vehicles cross into the intersection on red lights. So, a red light camera won’t pick up drivers failing to stop on a yellow light.
Road Rules, Offences, and Fines
A driver approaching the traffic lights showing a yellow traffic light must stop—
- if there is a stop line at or near the traffic lights and the driver can stop safely before reaching the stop line—as near as practicable to, but before reaching, the stop line, or
- if there is no stop line at or near the traffic lights and the driver can stop safely before reaching the traffic lights—as near as practicable to, but before reaching, the nearest or only traffic lights, or
- if the traffic lights are at an intersection and the driver cannot stop safely in accordance with paragraph (a) or (b), but can stop safely before entering the intersection—before entering the intersection.
Moreover, this section adds that until the traffic lights indicate a green, flashing yellow, or no traffic light, the driver is not permitted to drive past the stop line, the closest or only traffic lights, or into the intersection, as the situation may be. The penalty for a violation under this section is 20 penalty units (maximum).
A driver approaching an amber light traffic arrow who is turning in the direction indicated by the arrow must stop—
- if there is a stop line at or near the traffic arrows and the driver can stop safely before reaching the stop line—as near as practicable to, but before reaching, the stop line, or
- if there is no stop line at or near the traffic arrows and the driver can stop safely before reaching the traffic arrows—as near as practicable to, but before reaching, the nearest or only traffic arrows, or
- if the traffic arrows are at an intersection and the driver cannot stop safely in accordance with paragraph (a) or (b), but can stop safely before entering the intersection—before entering the intersection.
The driver must not go past the stop line or nearest or only traffic arrows, or into the intersection (as the case may be), until the traffic arrows show a green or flashing yellow traffic arrow or no traffic arrow. A violation of this section can penalise the driver with a maximum of 20 penalty units.
In the event that the driver will not be able to stop safely under the previous rules and if the traffic lights or traffic arrows (as the case may be) are at an intersection and the driver enters the intersection, the driver must leave the intersection as soon as the driver can do so safely. Violating this provision may charge you with 20 penalty units (maximum).
Are there instances when the driver does not stop at an amber light traffic and does not get fined? Yes. According to section 58, there are exceptions to stopping for an amber light traffic:
- A driver approaching a yellow light does not have to stop if:
- There’s a green traffic arrow and
- The driver is turning in the direction indicated by the arrow.
- A driver turning at an intersection with traffic lights who approaches or is at a red traffic light on the road that the driver is entering does not have to stop for that traffic light if there is no stop line or stop here on the red signal sign at or near the traffic light.
Flashing Amber Light Traffic
What about flashing yellow traffic light? What does it mean? It means the driver must give way, that is, he must slow down and, if needed, he must stop to avoid an accident. Failure to give way will cost you 20 penalty units (maximum).
Section 64 of the same Act states that: A driver turning in the direction indicated by a flashing yellow traffic arrow at an intersection with traffic lights must give way to—
- any vehicle travelling on the road the driver is entering, and
- any pedestrian at or near the intersection who is crossing the road the driver is entering, and
- if the driver is turning right—any oncoming vehicle going straight ahead or turning left at the intersection (except a vehicle turning left using a slip lane).
Crossing at an Amber Light Traffic
There are also rules as to pedestrians crossing at yellow traffic light. Section 232 says that:
- If there are red and yellow traffic lights showing and the pedestrian has not already started crossing the intersection or road, the pedestrian must not start to cross until the traffic lights change to a green light or flashing yellow, or there is no red traffic light showing.
- If, while the pedestrian is crossing the road, the traffic lights change to yellow or red, the pedestrian must not stay on the road for longer than necessary to cross safely to the nearer (in the direction of travel of the pedestrian) of the following—
- a dividing strip, safety zone, or traffic island, forming part of the area set aside or used by pedestrians to cross the road at the intersection or place (the safety area),
- the far side of the road.
Here, if the pedestrian crosses to the safety area, the pedestrian must remain in the safety area until the traffic lights change to green or flashing yellow, or there is no red traffic light showing.
Get Legal Help from Traffic Offence Lawyers
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Contact us today if you need more information about yellow or amber lights.