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msh's avatar

Does Yellow Mean Floor It?

Asked by msh (4262points) September 11th, 2015 from iPhone

All drivers face this dilemma at some point: You are driving and coming up to an intersection. As you are almost up to the ‘Stop Car Here’ bar in the road, the traffic light turns yellow. You know the light will change to red before the time that the nose of your car crosses the opposite side’s pedestrian crossing lines.
What do you do?
What if a police car is waiting for their green light to go, and can see you? Does this change your actions?
What if kids are in your car?

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9 Answers

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

No, yellow does not mean “floor it.” It means “stop unless you can make it through before the light turns red at your current speed.” I’m not saying I’ve never sped through a yellow light when I’m in a hurry. I’m pretty sure everyone has. But I try my best to be patient.

And seeing a police officer always changes my behavior. I don’t want to end up dead on the side of the road.

rojo's avatar

Red means stop.
Green means go.
Yellow means go faster.

Duh. What is our edukashun sistim cumming too?

kritiper's avatar

No, not really. There are times when you suddenly notice that the light has turned to yellow and you don’t know how long it has been like that, but it means stop if you can, and if you can’t, proceed with caution!

zenvelo's avatar

@JeSuisRickSpringfield has it right. If you cannot get through the intersection before the light turns red, you are running a red light. If a policeman (or a red light camera!) sees this, you can get a ticket.

One should not change driving behavior because kids are in the car. One ought to drive just as safe and cautiously with kids or without.

elbanditoroso's avatar

In Boston and parts of NY, yes, that’s exactly what it means.

In most civilized parts of the country, yellow means slow down / caution.

jca's avatar

In areas where you know there are traffic cameras, it definitely means stop.

sahID's avatar

@JeSuisRickSpringfield has the perfect explanation . . . for a perfect world. Sadly, though, this is not a perfect world, especially when it comes to driver behavior.

With regard to the question regarding the presence of a police car at the intersection: its effect depends on the driver. An example: one evening years ago I was approaching a major five-way intersection where a non injury two vehicle accident had recently occurred. A cop was sitting in his patrol car at the intersection, wrapping up the post-accident paperwork, and had his light bar active. I saw six vehicles in a row run a red light right in front of the easily seen cruiser. I saw them do it, and even now, years later, I still don’t believe it.

Around the city where I live, most drivers keep going until the light turns red.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I just purchased a traffic control unit for a project and was surprised to learn that not every country has the same pattern like the US: Red, Green, Yellow, Red.

The mode listed as “British” is: Red, Red +Yellow, Green, Yellow, Red.
You can interpret the colors as Red: On your mark!; Red +Yellow: Get Set!; Green: Go!
Can you imagine if they had that in NY City?

jerv's avatar

It depends mostly on speed and distance since the brakes on the cars I favor (late-80s Corollas) tend to be a little weaker than those on more modern cars (with their power steering and fuel injection). There is also the small matter that stopping my car requires both feet and my right hand as opposed to just moving my right foot over. I’m a little more likely to try to accelerate.

Would a cop’s presence change my behavior? No. We have red light cameras all over around here, so even when the police aren’t there, they’re there.

If there are kids in my car, I would have too many questions about how they got there to even drive anywhere until I got some answers.

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