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|Traffic Sign & Signal Accident
When drivers are confronted with a phasing traffic signal, they are faced with an emergent situation requiring an
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
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.
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
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|adopted additional requirements for the
installation an maintenance of traffic signs. To
read Illinois' supplement, please click here.