I Was Rear-Ended at a Yellow Light. Who Is at Fault?

May 29, 2023
Chester County Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Can Help You After an Intersection Accident.

An intersection is one of the most dangerous places for any driver, regardless of their experience. In fact, two out of every five car accidents occur at an intersection, where there are many drivers looking to cross over. With so many different parties at an intersection at the same time, it may be difficult to determine who is at fault should an accident occur.

If you are rear-ended when you approach a yellow light, most of the time it is because the driver behind you was either not paying attention or thought you were going to speed up before the light turned red. However, you slow down to a stop because that is what you are legally required to do. Then, the other driver blames you for the accident. In most cases, the driver that hit you would be found at fault for the accident.

Pennsylvania Traffic Laws

Knowing different traffic lights may seem like basic driving knowledge, but some motorists either forget them or disobey them altogether. Traffic lights you should be aware of include:

  • Steady red light: Anyone who approaches a steady red light at an intersection must come to a complete stop. You may only proceed when the light turns green.
  • Steady yellow light: A steady yellow light means it is going to change to red very soon, and that you should slow down and prepare to stop. You can only proceed if you are already in the intersection when the light is yellow, or you are unable to stop safely. It does not mean to speed up in an attempt to make it through before turning red.
  • Right turn on red: After coming to a complete stop, a driver may turn on red as long as there is not a “No Turn on Red” sign. A driver must still practice caution and can only turn when it is safe to do so.
  • Steady green light: A steady green light means you have the right-of-way to proceed through the intersection. If you are making a left turn, you must yield first to oncoming traffic and can only proceed when it is safe to do so. If you are making a right turn when the light is green, you must still yield to pedestrians or bicyclists crossing.
  • Flashing lights: A flashing red light is essentially a stop sign, as it means to come to a complete stop and only proceeding when you have the right-of-way. A flashing yellow light means to proceed with caution and slow down.

Every driver has a duty of care to each other and share responsibility for keeping themselves and others safe. Someone who rear-ends you, even if you stopped prematurely, may be at fault.

How to Avoid an Intersection Accident?

You could be the safest driver possible and still get in an accident. You cannot control what other drivers do, but there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of an intersection accident:

  • Always slow down and prepare to stop when the light turns yellow. Slowing down allows you time to assess the situation more carefully.
  • If you are turning left on a yellow light, remember that oncoming traffic has the right-of-way. Do not assume they are going to stop, and wait until it is completely safe before turning.
  • When making a right turn, be sure to come to a complete stop and check if crosswalk is clear to proceed.
  • Obeying the speed limit is a good way to give you time to check your surroundings and ensure it is safe to proceed.

Chester County Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Can Help You After an Intersection Accident

If you have been injured in an intersection car accident because of the actions of another driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Talk to our Chester County car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. today. Call us today at 610-565-3701 or fill out our online form for an initial consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.