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Turns from a blinking red light

Here in Alpena it seems like there are a number of people who forget what a blinking red light means. I always get the question, “When making a left hand turn on a blinking red light, do you need to come to a complete stop?” Followed by this type of story generally, “I was almost rear ended the other day because I stopped at a blinking red traffic light. There was no traffic around me but the car behind was not expecting me to stop and almost hit me.” Then the follow up question is, “Could I have just turned without stopping for flashing light as long as there was no traffic coming?” On a number of occasions while I have been off duty, I have witnessed all of the above take place.

If you think back to when you were in drivers training, what was one thing that holds true for every situation when a red light is involved, you stop! At blinking red light, you must stop at the blinking red before proceeding through the intersection. It should not be treated like a blinking yellow, where you cautiously check both directions before proceeding though. There have been traffic safety studies of each intersection with a blinking red light that have determined reasons based upon what the traffic control configuration will be for the safety of motorists.

Should a person disregard the blinking red light, the Michigan Vehicle Code statute that covers this is MCL

257.614(1)A. This statute says, “Flashing red (stop signal). When a red lens is illuminated by rapid intermittent flashes, drivers of vehicles shall stop before entering the nearest crosswalk at an intersection or at a limit line when marked and the right to proceed shall be subject to the rules applicable after making a stop at a stop sign.”

So essentially, red flashing lights shall be treated the same as a stop sign. You must make a complete stop, as is required by law, before making your turn. A violation of this could result in a civil infraction, with the charge being very similar to a ticket for disregarding a stop sign.

Ashley Simpson is a Community Service Trooper for the MSP Alpena Post. If you have a question for Trooper Simpson, you can email her at asktroopersimpson@gmail.com or mail them to Ask A Trooper, Michigan State Police – Alpena Post, 3283 W. Washington Ave, Alpena, MI 49707.