Georgia Personal Injury Trial Attorneys

Determining Fault at a Malfunctioning Traffic Light

By: Fry | Goehring

When two drivers get into an accident, there is typically one driver who wasn’t paying attention or being reckless, making it easier to determine fault in the accident. But what happens if an accident occurs because of something the drivers couldn’t control, like a malfunctioning traffic light? How do you know whose fault it is when a traffic light is malfunctioning?

Here is everything you need to know about accidents involving a malfunctioning traffic light, and what to do if you have been injured in that accident.


Like anything else electronic, traffic lights are prone to going out occasionally. Most of the time, the traffic lights go out due to a power outage, or because the bulbs in the signal burn out over time.

However, just because a traffic light is temporarily out of order does not mean that you can suddenly ignore the rules of the road. It’s important for you as the driver to pay attention to your surroundings and remember everything you were taught in driver’s education when coming up to an intersection with a malfunctioning traffic light.


If you come up to an intersection where the traffic light appears to be out, here’s what you should do when:

  • The traffic light is flashing yellow. When the traffic light is flashing yellow you should slow down and go through the intersection with caution. Always look out for other drivers and make sure you remember your right-of-way rules.
  • The traffic light is flashing red. When the traffic light is flashing red, then you should stop at the intersection before proceeding. Treat it like you would a traditional four-way stop and only go through the intersection when it’s your turn. If you and other cars arrive at the intersection at the same time, you make sure you let the driver to your right go before you.
  • The traffic light is completely out. When you don’t see any lights flashing or signs that the traffic light is functional at all, treat it like you would if it were a four-way stop and adhere to the right of way rules.

The main thing to remember when you encounter one of these situations is to proceed with extreme caution. If all drivers enter the intersection when they’re supposed to (and cautiously), there should be no accident.

Unfortunately, even if you are cautious while going through an intersection with a malfunctioning traffic light, a collision may be possible if another driver isn’t paying attention. If another driver ignores (or doesn’t know) the right of way rules in an intersection and causes an accident, they may be at fault for the accident.

If you have been involved in an accident due to a malfunctioning traffic light in Georgia and believe someone else is responsible, determine if legal action is in your best interest by CLICKING HERE TO CONTACT THE FRY LAW FIRM, or call at (404) 948-3571.