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Traffic Tip: Be sure to yield to oncoming traffic when turning

By By David Brogger
Dec. 16, 2012 at 6:16 a.m.


This week's traffic tip is in regards to the Texas Transportation Code 544.007, traffic control signals in general.

Sec. 544.007. Traffic-control signals in general. (a) A traffic-control signal displaying different colored lights or colored lighted arrows successively or in combination may display only green, yellow or red and applies to operators of vehicles as provided by this section.

(b) An operator of a vehicle facing a circular green signal may proceed straight or turn right or left unless a sign prohibits the turn. The operator shall yield the right of way to other vehicles and to pedestrians lawfully in the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk when the signal is exhibited.

(c) An operator of a vehicle facing a green arrow signal, displayed alone or with another signal, may cautiously enter the intersection to move in the direction permitted by the arrow or other indication shown simultaneously. The operator shall yield the right of way to a pedestrian lawfully in an adjacent crosswalk and other traffic lawfully using the intersection.

(d) An operator of a vehicle facing only a steady red signal shall stop at a clearly marked stop line. In the absence of a stop line, the operator shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. A vehicle that is not turning shall remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown. After stopping, standing until the intersection may be entered safely and yielding right of way to pedestrians lawfully in an adjacent crosswalk and other traffic lawfully using the intersection, the operator may:

(1) Turn right; or

(2) Turn left, if the intersecting streets are both one-way streets and a left turn is permissible.

(e) An operator of a vehicle facing a steady yellow signal is warned by that signal that:

(1) Movement authorized by a green signal is being terminated; or

(2) A red signal is to be given.

(f) The Texas Transportation Commission, a municipal authority or the commissioners court of a county may prohibit within the entity's jurisdiction a turn by an operator of a vehicle facing a steady red signal by posting notice at the intersection that the turn is prohibited.

(g) This section applies to an official traffic-control signal placed and maintained at a place other than an intersection, except for a provision that by its nature cannot apply. A required stop shall be made at a sign or marking on the pavement indicating where the stop shall be made. In the absence of such a sign or marking, the stop shall be made at the signal.

(h) The obligations imposed by this section apply to an operator of a streetcar in the same manner they apply to the operator of a vehicle.

(i) An operator of a vehicle facing a traffic-control signal, other than a freeway entrance ramp control signal or a pedestrian hybrid beacon, that does not display an indication in any of the signal heads shall stop as provided by Section 544.010 as if the intersection had a stop sign.

(j) In this section:

(1) "Freeway entrance ramp control signal" means a traffic-control signal that controls the flow of traffic entering a freeway.

(2) "Pedestrian hybrid beacon" means a pedestrian-controlled traffic-control signal that displays different colored lights successively only when activated by a pedestrian.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1325, Sec. 19.04, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 485, Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2011.

Why this specific code and how does it relate to driving in Victoria?

I have worked numerous crashes lately at intersections that have a protected left-turn signal. I wanted to remind everyone that unless there is an actual left-turn arrow at a traffic signal, you must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. This seems to occur more frequently on Navarro Street near the busy mall area.

There also seems to be a misconception that a yellow light means to speed up so you can get through the intersection before the light turns red. Wrong! The yellow light is letting you know that the red light is coming so you should slow down and stop if necessary. It is not a good idea to proceed through an intersection with a yellow light if you have to press the accelerator harder to make it.

If you have a traffic law question, contact Senior Police Officer David Brogger, Victoria Police Department Traffic Safety Unit, 361-485-3700.

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