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What Are Traffic Lights?

“I ran a red light.’  This sentence is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous in the spoken language.  Consider the purpose of red lights and the damage one can cause by not obeying driving rules.


Red lights stop traffic in one direction of an intersection so that cars can safely cross through the intersection from another direction.  Red lights also serve to stop traffic to allow pedestrians to cross the street at an intersection, which is why you will find red lights at busy intersections such as business areas and school zones.  The one variation of a constant red light signal is the flashing red light signal.  At a flashing red light, you must come to a complete stop at the signal and be sure the road is clear of oncoming traffic and/or pedestrians before proceeding.  The same rule applies when you approach a flashing red light at a railroad crossing; you must come to a complete stop, whether you can see a train approaching or not. 


The location of red lights will vary, and Virginia Department of Transportation will determine the need for and install red lights at locations that deem them necessary.

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