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Traffic lights

Traffic lights control the flow of traffic and pedestrians to improve safety and access to roads. You should drive at a speed that gives you time to react if the traffic lights change.

If you disobey a red or yellow traffic light, you may receive an infringement notice from a police officer. If you disobey a red traffic light, you may be sent a Camera Detected Offence notice in the mail.

Obeying traffic lights

Stop

Traffic lights displaying red light You must not drive past the STOP line at the red traffic light or, if there is no STOP line, the traffic light.
Traffic lights displaying red arrows You must not drive in the direction of the red traffic arrow past the STOP line at the traffic light or, if there is no STOP line, the traffic light.

Stop if it is safe to do so

Traffic signal displaying yellow light You must not drive past the STOP line at the yellow traffic light or, if there is no STOP line, the traffic light.

The yellow light is not the end of the green light phase – it is the beginning of the red light phase. You must STOP on a yellow light, unless it is unsafe to do so.
Traffic signal displaying yellow arrow If it is unsafe to stop, for example if you are very close to the light when it changes from green to yellow, you may proceed through the yellow light.

Drive with caution

Traffic signal displaying green light Drive past the light

Drive past the green traffic light or arrow, as long as the intersection is clear.
Traffic signal displaying green light and white B Traffic lights showing a white B light

If you are driving a bus, taxi, limousine, emergency vehicle or a bicycle, you may drive passed the white B light.
Traffic signal displaying green light Turning right at traffic lights

If the light is green and there are vehicles approaching from the opposite direction, you should move forward into the intersection past the STOP line if you can do so safely. If there is a safe gap in oncoming traffic, you may complete the turn. If you are in the intersection and the oncoming traffic continues until the lights turn yellow or red, you must complete the turn on the yellow or red light.

If you face a flashing yellow traffic light or arrow, you may drive past it. Apply give way rules and caution to avoid a collision with other vehicles and pedestrians.

Video of yellow traffic lights

Yellow lights

Video transcript

Some people think it's legal to drive through a yellow light if your front tyres are over the stop line before the light changes to red.

But, that's not the rule.

It's only legal to drive through a yellow light if you are unable to stop safely when the light changes.

You see, the yellow light is not an extension of the green light, it's actually the beginning of the red.

So when you approach traffic lights, you should always be prepared to stop in case the light suddenly changes. And you should check your rear view mirror for vehicles travelling close behind. If the light turns yellow, you must stop if it's safe to do so.

However, if you're so close to the intersection when the light changes that you are unable to stop safely, you are legally allowed to drive through the yellow light.

Now, if the light changes to yellow after you've moved into an intersection waiting to turn right, you are also legally allowed to drive through the yellow light to clear the intersection.

Knowing the rules makes travelling through intersections much safer for everyone.

Part 6 of the Queensland Road Rules applies.

Last updated
18 November 2014