Traffic signals direct the flow of the traffic and help keep everyone safe on the road. But some drivers disregard traffic signals and don’t follow the rules. The actions of these negligent drivers often cause injuries to other vehicle occupants, bicyclists, and pedestrians. One of the most common traffic signal violations is running a red light. That violation alone caused nearly 900 deaths and an estimated 143,000 injuries in a recent year, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
At Joye Law Firm, our attorneys are here if you have been injured as a result of someone’s careless or reckless action. Over the past 50 years, our personal injury lawyers have helped thousands of South Carolinians move forward after suffering a serious injury. We are proud of the comments that our clients have offered about our handling of their cases. Whether we’re standing up for you in court or supporting our community through charitable activities, our goal is to have a positive impact on those who turn to us for help.
To learn more about how Joye Law Firm can assist you, contact us for a free consultation about your case. Give us a call at (888) 324-3100 or use our online form now.
What Are the Rules of Traffic Signals?
Every driver should learn the traffic signal rules before they get behind the wheel of a car. However, some drivers remain unclear on the rules, and other drivers simply disregard them.
Generally speaking, you’ll encounter three basic types of traffic signals. Each one has specific rules that apply to them. These include:
- Green lights – A green light means that you are clear to proceed through an intersection. Always check your surroundings and move through the light cautiously. If you see an obstruction or an approaching car that isn’t stopping as it should, keep yourself safe by stopping or by proceeding carefully. If you are turning left on a green light and there is no green turn-arrow illuminated, you must yield to oncoming cars and wait until it’s clear to turn.
- Red lights – South Carolina uses two types of red lights: standard and flashing. Standard red lights mean that you need to stop before any intersection. You’ll need to stay behind the applicable stop line until the light turns green. The one exception to this is when you are making a right-hand turn on red where allowed. In this situation, you will need to come to a complete stop. Then you may proceed with your right turn, provided you yield to traffic and pedestrians. A flashing red light means that you need to come to a complete stop before the light. Once you do that, you may proceed through the intersection, provided you yield to any traffic that has the right of way.
- Yellow lights – These lights have standard and flashing settings, too. In most situations, a standard yellow light means that the traffic signal is about to change to red. If you’re approaching an intersection, a yellow light means you should prepare to stop. If you are already in an intersection, it means you should clear the intersection. Yellow signals aren’t an invitation to speed through an intersection as fast as possible.
If you encounter a flashing yellow light, it means you should reduce your speed and proceed with caution. While you may be able to move forward through the intersection, it’s always important to be ready to stop.
How Violating Traffic Signal Rules Causes Car Accidents
While the rules of traffic signals are fairly straightforward, car accidents still occur at intersections all the time in South Carolina. Cars and trucks converge and pass through intersections quickly. If a single driver violates a traffic signal rule, an accident can occur.
Common ways that traffic signal violations can cause accidents include:
- Running a red light to make it through an intersection without stopping
- Failing to yield in accordance with traffic signal rules
- Not allowing enough time to stop when a yellow light appears
Why Do Some Drivers Break Traffic Rules?
Why do drivers disregard the rules of the road? Why do they violate the law when they’re putting their lives and yours at risk? There are, unfortunately, a number of reasons why individuals don’t pay attention and drive dangerously.
Drivers often break traffic rules when they are:
- Running late
- Speeding and unable to slow down
- Distracted by cell phones, electronic devices, music, talking with passengers
- Impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Driving aggressively or recklessly due to road rage or frustration
- Tailgating a large vehicle and cannot see the traffic signal
Can Traffic Lights Cause Accidents?
Traffic lights themselves can be the cause of traffic accidents. There may be cases where a traffic light malfunction causes an accident. This could be because of a problem with a sensor, faulty hardware, or software. The reality is that although traffic lights are intended to control the flow of traffic, they can fail like any other tool.
If you have been in an accident caused by faulty traffic lights, speak with a car accident lawyer as soon as you can. A traffic light malfunction can cause a serious accident. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer at Joye Law Firm can explain your rights and how you may seek compensation for your medical bills and other losses. In most cases, there is a three year statute of limitations for vehicle accidents in South Carolina. However, since a governmental body may be responsible for failing to maintain the faulty light, that time frame could be reduced significantly. Speak to an experienced attorney familiar with South Carolina auto accident law to determine what dates apply to your case. Unless you pursue your claim within the statute of limitations, you may be forever barred from doing so.
How Does Traffic Cause Accidents?
Congestion, sudden stops, work zones, tailgaters, and drivers driving too fast for traffic conditions can disrupt the flow of traffic and cause an accident.
The more motor vehicles are on the road, the more chances there are of a driver making an error and causing an accident.
Accidents Caused by Traffic Signal Violations
When people don’t follow traffic signals, they can easily cause an accident and injuries. One of the most common traffic violations that lead to accidents is the failure to stop at a red light. This dangerous violation can result in a high-speed side-impact collision that can cause serious injuries for everyone involved.
Accidents that commonly result from traffic signal violations include:
- Failure to yield accidents
- Left-turn accidents
- Rear-end accidents
- T-bone or side-impact accidents
- Right on red accidents
- Intersection accidents
- Road construction accidents
What Would Happen If People Did Not Observe Traffic Signals Rules?
Traffic signal rules are in place to keep drivers and passengers safe at intersections. By telling everyone when it’s safe to proceed, traffic signals help save lives.
Without traffic signals, accidents would happen far more often.
Liability of the Drivers for Failure to Follow Traffic Rules
When drivers fail to follow traffic rules and cause an accident, they may be held responsible for the injuries, and losses that accident victims suffer as a result. If you were injured by a driver who violated traffic rules, you may be able to pursue compensation to cover various types of losses, such as:
- Medical costs – The medical costs of an accident can pile up fast. As part of an accident case, you may seek compensation for the care you need now and the care you may need in the future.
- Lost wages – Accidents causing serious injuries can leave you unable to work. Through an accident claim, you may pursue the resources to pay your bills and get back on your feet.
- Damage to earning potential – If an injury limits your ability to earn a living in the future or advance in your career, you may seek compensation to help cover the resulting loss of earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering caused by the accident – Accidents and injuries hurt. What you go through can turn your life upside down. You may be able to claim compensation for your physical and emotional pain and distress.
- The cost of repairing or replacing your property – A traffic accident can damage or total your car. Through a claim, you may be able to seek compensation for fixing or replacing your vehicle or other damaged property.
What’s a Red Light/Green Light Case?
“Red light/green light” is a way lawyers refer to cases involving two or more vehicles, where each driver claims to have had the green light. Sometimes, it can be very difficult to determine who was correct, and who was responsible for the wreck. Because of the lack of clear liability, some lawyers will not accept these cases.
However, at Joye Law Firm, we pride ourselves on taking on the hard cases. We’ve helped clients across South Carolina receive compensation in traffic light wrecks, where liability was initially disputed.
Understanding Your Legal Rights After an Accident Caused by a Traffic Signal Violation
Following an accident, you have many rights that deserve protection. These include:
- A right to seek compensation for your injuries and losses
- A right to talk with an attorney about your options
- A right to gather information about the accident, including photos and witness information
- A right to get the medical care you deserve
Contact a South Carolina Attorney Now
If you’ve been injured in an accident, get in touch with Joye Law Firm. Our team of knowledgeable attorneys has helped people throughout South Carolina. We are ready to review your accident and talk with you about your options.
At Joye Law Firm, we’re celebrating more than 50 years of serving clients and the community throughout South Carolina. If you’ve been injured on the road, turn to an experienced firm that cares. We offer a free consultation to help you understand your path forward.