Red light arrow drop-out
Ever approach an intersection where the red-turn arrow switches off and no green-turn arrow is displayed? Don’t worry – it’s not a glitch!
In this scenario, the red arrow indicates that it’s not safe to turn just yet. When it drops out, it’s letting you know that you might be able to start turning, but you need to watch the remaining traffic lights and be mindful of oncoming traffic before you go. If the remaining light is green, you may start to turn right, just as you would at an intersection without arrow lights.
At some intersections once the arrow drops out there are no other traffic lights. In this case, you can start to turn after giving way to other road users.
Traffic lights at freeway entry ramps
Some freeway entry ramps are controlled by lights to make merging safer and easier by spacing out vehicles, known as ramp metering. Some operate 24/7, while others only switch on during peak-traffic times. Here’s how they work:
- When the lights start to operate, the yellow light flashes for around one minute.
- The lights then turn red for drivers on the entry ramp to stop at the stop line.
- The lights then begin their green, yellow and red cycle.
- The red traffic light means drivers must stop and not proceed until the light turns to green, just like standard red traffic lights at intersections.
- Only one vehicle can enter the freeway from each lane, unless signs state otherwise.
- Some freeway ramp signals allow trucks or vehicles with two or more people (T2/T3) to bypass the lights for priority access onto the freeway.
What to do when traffic lights aren’t working
First things first – don’t panic! When the lights are out, flashing yellow or just not working properly, simply approach the intersection with caution and courtesy, giving way to any vehicles approaching from the right. If you’re turning right, remember to give way to both oncoming traffic and traffic on your right.
When it’s safe to, you might also want to report the problem. You can do this by:
- locating the pale green or grey box at the side of the intersection and noting the intersection identification number
- calling VicRoads on 13 11 70 and quoting the identification number.
Do you stop or slow down at yellow lights?
A yellow light is not a signal to travel faster through the intersection to beat the red light. You must not travel through a yellow traffic light if you're able to stop safely before the stop line. If you can’t safely stop before the stop line, you must stop before entering the intersection itself.
If you’ve already entered the intersection when the light turns yellow or red, you must exit the intersection as soon as you can safely do so.
Keep in mind, just because you’ve crossed the stop line, does not necessarily mean you have entered the intersection. At this point, our recommendation would be that you stop.
Check out our Youtube video on Traffic Lights for more.