Sign of the week: Yellow light

Sign of the Week is a weekly feature here on the SenSen Driving School blog that demystifies some common head-scratching signs you’ll see as a driver.

Yellowlight-PointofnoreturnYellow light means caution. It means the traffic light is about to turn red and you need to stop before the intersection unless you aren’t able to stop safely behind the first white line.

As you are approaching the intersection, you might notice a stale green light. This means the light has been green for a while and is about to turn yellow. If you can safely stop in time, please do so.

As you approach the intersection, there are a number of factors you need to consider when deciding if you should stop at the light or not:

– Your speed
– The road conditions (whether it’s raining, snowing, or sunny)
– If there is traffic behind you

If you can safely stop in time, we always recommend stopping. Running a yellow light on purpose is not something you want to do on your road test. (You’re not trying to beat lights.)

You need to decide fairly early if you can safely make it across or if you should stop. Sometimes if you can’t stop in time, this is what we call the “Point of no return” where the safest option is just for you to carry on through.

If you make a bad decision or hesitate, car accidents can happen. If you abruptly brake or slam on the brakes, for example, you might get rear ended,  start sliding forward into the intersection or end up stopping on top of the crosswalk—all of which are grounds for a instant fail in your road test.

Work with your driving instructor closely to figure out how to deal with the yellow lights. Remember that the purpose of the yellow light is to have a buffer time between the green and the red. Otherwise the lights would just be green and red.

The yellow light is designed so you have time to react to the change. If you can safely make it across, then do so. If you can safely stop in time, then do that.

Again, as mentioned when we discussed red lights, use the pedestrian timer countdown to assist you in determining if the light is about to change.


If you see a flashing yellow light, this means slow down. Make sure you scan the intersection carefully (using the left-centre-right-left technique) for pedestrians and cars, and then proceed when safe.

Don’t hesitate to contact us at SenSen Driving School if you have any questions or concerns. We would be more than happy to assist you in your journey to becoming a safe and confident driver.


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