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Traffic Sign & Signal Accident
Reconstruction Expert
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When drivers are confronted with a phasing traffic signal, they are faced with an emergent situation requiring an
immediate response.

Drivers have to process a yellow signal’s meaning (a red signal will soon be displayed), assess the distance and
time necessary to cross the intersection, and make an appropriate response (slow to a stop or continue through the
intersection).

The longer a yellow signal is displayed, the longer a driver has to react appropriately.
Accident reconstruction often involves the assessment of traffic sign configuration and traffic signal timing.  

Accident reconstructionists refer to the changing of a traffic signal as
phasing.  The timing of these phases are
generally determined by traffic density, intersection size, and/or pedestrian traffic.  

The length of each phase, including yellow periods, can differ from intersection to intersection. In some cases, a
yellow light can last as long as 5 seconds, but elsewhere the length of the yellow period may be as little as 3 seconds.

While the length of a yellow traffic signal might not seem important, accident reconstruction experts now know that an
increase in a traffic signal's yellow period can significantly reduce the number of signal violations and angled (t-bone)
crashes at a given intersection.  
Traffic Signal Configuration
The size, shape, and placement of
traffic signs is regulated by the U.S.
Department of Transportation's
Manual on Uniform Traffic Control
Devices (MUTCD).  To read the
MUTCD, please
click here.

States, such as Illinois, have
Speed Limit Sign
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opinion and should not be construed as such.  The use of this site does not create a contractor/client relationship with any employee of Crash Data Services, LLC.   Each investigation is different. Case
results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case.  The results of any investigation/reconstruction do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case undertaken by Crash Data Services,
LLC
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adopted additional requirements for the
installation an maintenance of traffic signs.  To
read Illinois' supplement, please
click here.