California Driver Handbook - Traffic Controls

Traffic Signal Lights

red lightSolid Red– A red signal light means "STOP." You can make a right turn against a red light after you stop then yield to pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles close enough to be a hazard. Make the right turn only when it is safe. Do not turn if a "NO TURN ON RED" sign is posted.




red arrowRed Arrow– A red arrow means "STOP." Remain stopped until the green signal or green arrow appears. Do not turn against a red arrow.




flashing redFlashing Red– A flashing red signal light means "STOP." After stopping, you may proceed when it is safe. Observe the right-of-way rules.




yellow lightSolid Yellow– A yellow signal light means "CAUTION." The red signal is about to appear. When you see the yellow light, stop if you can do so safely. If you cannot stop safely, cross the intersection cautiously.




yellow arrowYellow Arrow– A yellow arrow means the "protected" turning time period is ending. Be prepared to obey the next signal, which could be the green or red light or the red arrow.




flashing yellowFlashing Yellow– A flashing yellow signal light warns you to "PROCEED WITH CAUTION." You do not need to stop for a flashing yellow light, but you must slow down and be especially alert before entering the intersection.




flashing yellowFlashing Yellow Arrow– This signal means turns are permitted (unprotected), but you must first yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians and then proceed with caution.





green lightSolid Green–Give the right-of-way to any vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian in the intersection. A green light means “GO.” If you are turning left, make the turn only if you have enough space to complete the turn before creating a hazard for any oncoming vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian. Do not enter the intersection if you cannot get completely across before the light turns red. If you block the intersection, you can be cited.




green arrowGreen Arrow–A green arrow means “GO.” You must turn in the direction the arrow is pointing after you yield to any vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian still in the intersection. The green arrow allows you to make a “protected” turn. Oncoming vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians are stopped by a red light as long as the green arrow is lighted.


Traffic Signal Blackout– The traffic signal light is not working. Proceed cautiously as if the intersection is controlled by "STOP" signs in all directions.

previous page | table of contents | next page