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The UK traffic lights sequence explained here is an essential part of learning to drive and the theory test. Although understanding traffic the light sequences is reasonably simple, greater challenges often arise when dealing with other road users and pedestrians at traffic lights.
It is of course important to obey traffic light signals, but equally important to have a constant awareness of what is around you. Cyclists and pedestrians in particular can be unpredictable around busy light controlled junctions. This guide provides information on traffic lights sequences at various systems found on UK roads, along with an explanation on filter lights and the rules and legal regulations that must be complied with at traffic lights.
UK traffic lights sequence explained Red traffic light A vehicle must stop just behind the white stop line at traffic light. Red and amber traffic lights Also means stop but can prepare to go. A vehicle must not pass through the lights until the green light is illuminated.
Green traffic light When the light turns green, you may proceed providing the way is clear. Amber traffic light When a single amber light is illuminated, you must prepare to stop just before the first white line. You may only proceed through an amber is you have just crossed the stop line as it changes or are too close to the stop line that stopping may cause an accident.
Traffic filter lights Traffic filter lights A green traffic filter light allows traffic to proceed in the direction of the arrow. A directional green filter arrow means that you have priority over traffic as their lights will be on red when you make the turn.
As with all junctions be aware of pedestrians and cyclists whilst making the turn. It is also relatively common for a learner driver to focus primarily on the red light and not notice the green filter light is illuminated allowing you to proceed. A filter light may illuminate before or after the full green phase.
Ensure you keep an eye on the filter light as well as the main phase lights. Box junctions Traffic filter lights can be located anywhere including box junctions.
Be highly aware if a yellow box junction is present. If a green filter light is illuminated you may only proceed if your exit is clear and you must not stop on the yellow box.
See Box Junction for further information. Green filter light illuminated Green filter light illuminated If you are turning right as the diagram suggests and the green filter traffic light is illuminated, oncoming traffic will have a red light giving you priority to proceed.
Image can be enlarged Green filter light not illuminated Green filter light not illuminated If turning right and your green filter light is not illuminated or it distinguishes, you can still proceed providing the full phase green light is illuminated.
You must however give way to oncoming vehicles and wait at the point of turn. Image can be enlarged. Traffic light turned red Traffic light turned red If you are waiting to turn right and the red light illuminates, ensure you exit the junction by turning right when the remaining oncoming vehicles have dispersed.
Never remain inside the junction as you will stop the flow of traffic. Traffic light stop line All traffic lights have a stop line.
Advanced stop lines such as the images above allow for cyclists to stop ahead of other vehicles in a bay often in a alternative colour to the road.
All traffic must stop at the first line when the lights are red and avoid entering the cycle bay when stationary. Slow Moving Traffic Traffic jams and slow moving traffic at light controlled junctions often results in frustration for many drivers, particularly when junctions are blocked when your light is green.
Driving test traffic lights During a driving test, dealing with traffic lights will require a similar technique to dealing with junctions. A good level of anticipation and planning is also required.
For instance, if approaching traffic lights and from a distance they have been on green for some time, as you approach, expect there is a high probability they may change and prepare for this in advance.
Also traffic lights at pedestrian crossings for instance, if in the distance you see people waiting, as you approach there is a high probability the lights will change. Pedestrian crossing traffic lights sequence All light controlled pedestrian crossings use the same light sequence as the traffic light sequence detailed above with the exception of the Pelican crossing.
Where the Pelican crossing differentiates is with the flashing amber phase. The flashing amber allows vehicles to proceed only if the crossing is clear and safe to continue. The newer more efficient Puffin crossing is gradually replacing the older Pelican crossings.
See pedestrian crossing for further information on the types of crossing and light sequences. Running a red light is obviously dangerous and on may traffic lights, cameras are now fitted. A red light camera can even be triggered if your vehicle stops only slightly over the white line.
Of course, this would also result in a driving test failure. Traffic light failure Dealing with a traffic light failure can be daunting for a learner driver.The standard In|Sync system includes up to four detection cameras per intersection, with an option of adding additional cameras.
This Adaptive Traffic Control System (ATCS) cameras detect and measure traffic demand based on real-time traffic conditions like volume and delay. To complete the traffic light, first enter the images shown into cells B14, B16, and B Use an Auto Shape from the Basic Shapes section, and a Text Box for the label.
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