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News Story
Updated: 09/18/2013 08:00:02AM

Don’t get caught in the middle

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Bartow Police Chief Joseph Hall

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Some of the most stressful times as drivers are when you are trying to follow the rules of the road when others are not. You find yourself in the middle; sometimes literally in the middle of the intersection with everyone else. This week I am talking about traffic signals, and what you should do when they are inoperable.

In Florida, we have the pleasure of sudden thunderstorms, and of course the occasional hurricane. As a result of these storms, we often lose electricity and of course electrical power is how our traffic signals operate. So what do you do when the traffic signals are out and you are “caught in the middle”?

Florida law is very clear on this topic, and if you think back far enough this question was probably the very question that you answered on your driver’s exam to get your Florida Driver’s License. According to Florida State Statute 316.1235, if all of the signals are out at a given intersection (not working at all), then you must treat the intersection as a four-way stop intersection. Obviously, if the signals are on flash you proceed as indicated by the flashing light.

Most times we see vehicle operators just driving through intersections that do not have working signals, especially on state thoroughfares. This is not safe or legal. Don’t get caught in the middle of the intersection in trouble. Stop when there is no signal. It is the right choice.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact the Bartow Police Department at 863-534-5034.


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