How to navigate downed traffic lights after a storm

When catastrophic storms — like Irma and Harvey — tear across the country, millions of people and business are affected in countless ways, and the recovery can take days, weeks or even years.

With downed trees, power lines and debris, driving can be a serious concern after a storm. As drivers begin to get back on the roads, you may come across traffic lights with no signal or flashing colors. While the protocol might come easy to some, others may not know what to do in this situation, which can cause major accidents or traffic jams.

Read more: Why you shouldn’t use your hazard lights when driving in bad weather

Here’s what to do at a broken traffic light

  • Flashing red: Treat as a stop sign
  • Flashing yellow: Proceed slowly through the intersection
  • No signal: Treat as a four-way stop

Codes and statutes across the country agree (here are the specifics for Florida).

The key takeaway: Don’t wait until you’re at a light that’s not working to think about how to proceed!

Read more: Beware of ‘storm chasers’ after Irma

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