What is The Difference Between Traffic Lights with Red Arrows and Those with Solid Red Lights?

Two traffic lights with slight difference

Traffic lights are one of the most common and effective ways to control the flow of traffic, keeping everyone on the road safe. Understanding the signals is vital for any Orange County driver, and for the most part, they are simple to follow. However, they can be a little more complicated when moving past the basic, solid colors, and misunderstandings can lead to accidents.

While this may seem trivial, there is a significant difference between a red light and a red arrow. Misunderstanding these signals as you navigate the roads can not only get you in trouble but also result in severe damage to your vehicle or health. Below, our car accident attorneys from The Text Kevin Accident Attorneys offer information to help you familiarize yourself with all the possible signals before you make a costly mistake.

Table of Contents

What Makes Red Arrow and Solid Red Lights Different?

A standard traffic light has six possible signals. It either displays a solid red, yellow, or green for stop, slow, and go or arrows of these colors. The solid colors generally refer to the path forward, while the arrows are for turning.

If an inattentive or ignorant driver does not follow these signals, they can quickly cause significant trouble for themselves or others. There is a common misconception that a red arrow means that you can turn if you yield first, which is totally untrue. Because so many people break this law, many intersections also have signs that specify no turning on the red arrow, though this does not always prevent it.

Red Arrow Lights Are for Turning Traffic

As stated, arrow lights function primarily to control turning traffic. You mainly need to pay attention to arrow lights when you are in a turn lane, as they are not the primary lights for traffic traveling forward. A green arrow means you can turn, and a red arrow indicates that you cannot.

Despite a common misconception, you cannot turn at a red arrow under any circumstances. Doing so is not only unlawful but also dangerous, as it can easily send you into oncoming traffic. Even if you see no other vehicles coming, you must wait until the arrow turns green.

Red arrows are not the same as a regular red light. Don’t make assumptions about right-of-way.

Solid Red Lights Are for Protected Lanes

Solid lights are for protected lanes, essentially the traffic going through. They are the main sort of signals drivers deal with and the easiest to understand. However, there is one situation in which you can, if allowed, make a turn at a solid red light.

When you are stopped at a red light, you may turn right unless otherwise indicated. You must first stop and yield to all oncoming traffic, but once they have passed, you are free to make your turn. In places where this is not allowed, there will likely be a sign hanging by the light, so be certain you have checked before you assume.

What Happens If I Turn at the Wrong Time?

Traffic laws exist for a reason. Orange County is a busy place, with thousands of cars on the road at any given time. To keep everyone safe, it is important that each driver follows the rules carefully.

Something as simple as a mistimed turn can have potentially disastrous consequences. Even disregarding the worst-case scenario, you will likely still face immediate penalties. Your best option is to stay mindful of traffic signals and alert to your surroundings, using caution when you drive.

You May Be Issued a Ticket

Traffic signals are not simply a suggestion, they are an extension of the law. Just like speeding or drunk driving, if you are caught disregarding a traffic signal, you will be subject to legal penalties. A police officer will have to pull you over to issue a ticket, leaving you with a fine and potentially even more.

Even if there is not an officer around to see you firsthand, many traffic lights are equipped with cameras that will record the event according to the Sacramento County Courts. These are automated to issue a citation to the registered owner of the vehicle based on the infraction. If you would like to avoid paying a fine, traffic school, or an increase in your insurance, it is important to follow the traffic signals carefully.

Worse, you may be in bigger trouble if this is not your first ticket. If you have pled guilty to multiple tickets, you may have points added to your license, which can add up over time. If you are not careful and these points add up, your license may be suspended.

You May Be Involved in a Car Accident

While a ticket is serious, causing a car accident is undoubtedly much worse. Turning into oncoming traffic when the other drivers are not expecting it can very easily turn into a costly, potentially deadly crash. You can hurt not only yourself but any other drivers or pedestrians in your path.

Even disregarding the threat to your own life and property, causing a crash through negligence puts you in a position to be sued by those affected. You could end up owing quite a bit of money and being held accountable for another person’s medical bills, vehicle repairs, and pain and suffering. A small traffic mistake can end up changing your life forever, and not for the better.

Unfortunately, California’s negligence laws may hold you liable for the accident under California Civil Code 1714. That means you may be found liable for the accident under California’s fault laws, leaving you or your insurance policy paying for the damage done by the accident. If you are concerned you may be blamed partially or completely for the accident, reach out for legal guidance.

Pro Tip
Obeying traffic signals protects both yourself and other drivers on the road.

I Have Been Accused of Partial Fault for Turning at a Red Arrow. What Can I Do?

When dealing with a personal injury case, the fault does not always come down to one party. Even if you are not fully responsible for a car accident, you can still be accused of being partly to blame. California, unlike other states, does not limit partial fault to 50%, meaning even someone 99% at fault can sue the other party for their supposed part.

For example, you may have turned at a red arrow, only to be struck by another car traveling through the intersection. If the other driver was distracted or ran a red light, you may only be accused of being 75% at fault. That means you may still be able to recover the 25% of compensation you are eligible for. While your attorney can work hard to protect your compensation, keep in mind that you may still have a chance to fight back.

However, even if the other party is accusing you of being at fault, they still have to prove it. A car accident attorney can help you defend your case, working to beat these allegations and ensuring you get your fair compensation. When accused of any crime, a good attorney is always your best option.

Intersection Accidents Can Have Dangerous Consequences

A busy intersection in Orange County can be a truly dangerous place, especially when someone disregards traffic signals. There are a number of possible hazards, such as being T-boned, that make carefully following the rules a must. Someone caught endangering others in an intersection would almost definitely be a candidate for a car accident lawsuit, as they may cause some of the following injuries:

If you have suffered these injuries in an intersection accident, or if someone is accusing you of causing these injuries, reach out for help. Your attorneys can help you navigate these situations and get answers when the other party tries to pin the blame on you. That can help you focus on your injury recovery when dealing with these dangerous consequences.

What Our Attorneys Can Offer Those Facing an Accident Claim for an Intersection Accident

The Text Kevin Accident Attorneys is an experienced, trusted firm serving Orange County. Rated one of the top lawyers for client satisfaction, we have helped countless residents both with their car accident claims and defending against claims from others. If you have been accused of causing an intersection accident, we will do all we can to help you with skill and a professional attitude.

Quality Experience, Including Trial Experience

Our lawyers have years of experience in car accident law, from filing claims to the courtroom. No matter what legal help you need, we have dealt with your situation before and can help you to the best of our ability.

While it is technically possible to represent yourself in court, you would be only setting yourself up to fail. Your opposition will almost definitely have an attorney on their side, making it an unfair fight without counsel of your own. Our firm is just the edge you need, helping to build the most robust case we can and arguing on your behalf in front of a judge.

Tools to Calculate Your Claim’s Value

One of the more complicated parts of a personal injury case is calculating the actual value of the claim. There are a lot of factors that go into this and not all of them are initially clear. Damages are split up into three categories:

  • Economic Damages – The pure financial loss the victim suffered due to the accident. This includes hospital bills, the value of repairs, and wages lost during recovery.
  • Non-Economic Damages – Essentially, the pain and suffering endured as described under California Civil Code 1431.2. This is a bit more difficult to calculate, but we can handle that for you.
  • Punitive Damages – These are essentially fines added on as penalties for criminal behavior according to California Civil Code Section 3294. They are not always guaranteed, but may be possible.

Our personal injury lawyers have extensive experience with these matters and will be happy to calculate the total worth of your car accident claim. We will also negotiate for this amount with the opposition and argue for it in court should the need arise. We will do everything we can to get you the maximum possible settlement for your claim.

Laws That Can Impact You After an Intersection Accident

Just as you should be aware of traffic light laws, you should be mindful of the rules that govern car accident claims. Whether you are filing a claim yourself or have been accused, these can deeply impact the outcome of your case. A car accident lawyer at The Text Kevin Accident Attorneys will be familiar with these, though having your own knowledge will undoubtedly help you.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations refers to how long you have to file a claim and when that option is no longer available. With few exceptions, you have to formally file your car accident claim before this time frame is up, or else you have lost your chance forever. The statute of limitations exists to keep memory and evidence of the event fresh so that everything can be handled as fairly as possible.

If you have been injured in a car accident, you have two years before your claim will be rejected. If you have only experienced property damage, you have three years. One major exception is that if a government vehicle was involved, you have to make your claim within six months, depending on the type of vehicle.

If a minor is involved, the statute of limitations might be extended. An attorney can clarify in these situations.

Pure Comparative Negligence

In a wreck, especially a significant intersection accident, there is often more than one person at fault. Comparative negligence is the measure of how responsible one party is compared to the other. Different states have different rules on this, with California’s being one of the most lenient.

In Orange County, you are allowed to sue for negligence even if you are up to 99% at fault. This is one of the reasons a skilled car accident attorney is so necessary, to protect you from these counter-accusations. While you may still be eligible for compensation, your attorney can help you maximize it.

Talk to Your Lawyer about Your Opportunities for Action

If you or your property has been damaged due to a negligent driver, you may be able to take action. An Orange County car accident lawyer will be happy to consult with you, and many offer this for free. You may be entitled to compensation, though you have only a limited time to file your claim.

The Text Kevin Accident Attorneys is one of your finest choices for legal representation in Orange County. Whether you intend to file a suit or need expert legal defense, we are ready to hear from you. To start with a free consultation with our attorneys, reach out by phone or through our online contact form.

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett is an award-winning personal injury lawyer who understands the impact an accident can have on someone’s life. That’s why he aggressively fights for each of his clients.

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