Dallas Red Light Runners and Right-of-Way Violations: Tips to Stay Out of a Collision.

Ever been stuck in the aftermath of a frustrating Dallas car accident, where someone seemingly blew through a red light? Traffic signal violations and right-of-way confusion are leading causes of accidents in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. This blog post, brought to you by the trusted Texas car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Tim O’Hare will guide you through understanding traffic signals and right-of-way rules. By following these guidelines, you can navigate intersections safely and avoid becoming another statistic in Dallas-Fort Worth car accidents. 

Red Light Running: A Deadly Threat

More than just an annoyance, red light running is a serious problem on our roads. Texas law § 544.007 prohibits running a red light. This violation is a Class C misdemeanor in Texas, yet many drivers still fail to follow the law to the letter.

AAA Foundation data analysis found that more than two people are killed every day in red light running crashes. In 2021 alone, 1,109 people were killed in crashes that involved red light running [1]. These statistics include drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists — all groups affected by those who knowingly or carelessly ignore red lights. These deaths serve as a sobering reminder of the importance of obeying traffic signals and exercising caution at intersections. 

Traffic Signals: The Universal Language to Prevent Dallas-Fort Worth Car Accidents

Although it seems like a basic reminder beckoning back to the days of driver’s education, traffic signals are the common language drivers rely on to navigate intersections and avoid collisions. These signals, typically consisting of red, yellow, and green lights, convey clear instructions:

  • Red: Stop. This applies to all approaching vehicles in Dallas, Fort Worth, and across Texas unless a designated turn lane has a permitted left turn signal (green arrow).
  • Yellow: Prepare to stop. This is a cautionary phase, indicating the red light will soon illuminate.
  • Green: Proceed with caution. The intersection is clear for your lane to proceed, but always yield to pedestrians and oncoming traffic with a right-of-way.

Understanding Right-of-Way to Avoid Dallas-Fort Worth Car Accidents

Right-of-way refers to the legal right to proceed through an intersection without stopping or yielding to oncoming traffic. Understanding right-of-way rules helps drivers navigate complex situations and avoid accidents, especially in busy Dallas-Fort Worth intersections. We wrote extensively about Who’s At Fault in a Failure to Yield Accident lately, but here’s a brief reminder of some key right-of-way rules in Texas:

  • Traffic Signals: Vehicles with a green light generally have the right-of-way. However, be cautious of turning vehicles with a green arrow and pedestrians crossing with a walk signal.
  • Stop Signs: Drivers approaching a stop sign in Dallas, Fort Worth, or anywhere in Texas must come to a complete stop, yield to any traffic with a right-of-way (including those already in the intersection), and then proceed cautiously.
  • Yield Signs: Drivers approaching a yield sign must slow down or stop if necessary to yield to any oncoming traffic with a right-of-Way before proceeding.
  • Uncontrolled Intersections: These intersections lack traffic signals or stop signs. In such cases, the right-of-way typically defaults to the vehicle that arrived first. If vehicles arrive simultaneously, the vehicle to the right has the right-of-way.

However, it is very important to understand that even if you have the right-of-way, you still have a duty to try to avoid others who are violating the traffic rules if you can. When analyzing fault or negligence, courts and insurance companies ask: “What would an ordinary, prudent driver do under the same or similar circumstances?” Failing to exercise this duty can turn a clear liability case into a convoluted mess with all drivers being apportioned some of the fault which can negatively affect someone’s recovery. 

Navigating Complexities and Avoiding Dallas-Fort Worth Car Accidents

While the basic rules seem straightforward, complexities can arise, especially in the bustling Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

Let’s explore some common scenarios:

  • Left Turns: Left-turning vehicles must yield to oncoming traffic, even with a solid green light (not green arrow). Ensure oncoming traffic has cleared the intersection before proceeding, particularly during Dallas-Fort Worth rush hour.
  • Right Turns on Red: Right turns on red are generally permitted in Texas after coming to a complete stop and yielding to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. This can be helpful when navigating busy Carrollton intersections.
  • Multiple Lanes: Right-of-way applies within each lane. Even with a green light, be cautious of vehicles turning left from an oncoming lane, a common cause of accidents in Dallas-Fort Worth.
  • Yielding to Emergency Vehicles: Always yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles with flashing lights and sirens. Pull over to the right curb and come to a complete stop, regardless of whether you’re in Dallas, Fort Worth, or anywhere else in Texas.

In addition to the resources listed above, be sure to explore our informative blog post: Texas Traffic Laws and Your Car: Can I Get a Traffic Ticket for That? for a comprehensive guide on common traffic violations in the Dallas area. 

What to Do After a Dallas-Fort Worth Car Accident Caused By Someone Ignoring Traffic Signals or Right-of-Way

Accidents can happen even with a good understanding of traffic signals and right-of-way. If you find yourself in a collision in Dallas, Fort Worth, or anywhere in Texas, here’s what to do:

  • Stay Calm and Check for Injuries: Ensure everyone involved is safe. If there are injuries, call 911 immediately.
  • Secure the Scene: Turn on hazard lights and set up flares, if available, to warn oncoming traffic, especially important on busy Dallas highways.
  • Exchange Information: Exchange information with the other driver(s) involved, including names, contact details, and insurance information.
  • Do Not Admit Fault: Avoid discussing fault at the scene. Simply exchange information and report the accident to your insurance company.
  • Document the Scene: Take photos of the damage to vehicles, the surrounding area, and any traffic signals or signs relevant to the accident, especially helpful for a Dallas car accident lawyer.
  • Gather Witness Information: At the very least, get the name and phone number. Additional contact information can be helpful.
  • Seek Legal Counsel: In case of significant damage, injuries, or disputes regarding fault in a Dallas car accident or a Carrollton car accident, consider contacting a car accident lawyer.
Dallas Red Light Runners and Right-of-Way Violations: Tips to Stay Out of a Collision.

The Law Offices of Tim O'Hare: Here for You After a Car Accident

Accidents can be overwhelming, leaving you with physical injuries, emotional stress, and a mountain of medical bills. Texas law protects accident victims, but navigating the legal system and dealing with insurance companies can be a challenge.

Insurance companies often prioritize their bottom line over ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve. They may try to downplay your injuries, delay your claim, or offer a settlement that falls far short of covering your expenses.

The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare can help. Our experienced Carrollton and Dallas car accident attorneys will fight for your rights and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries. We handle all the complexities of your case, allowing you to focus on healing.

Don’t settle for less. Contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare today for a free consultation.