Knowing what all the different traffic signals mean and having the ability to distinguish them from each other and react in a timely manner is an essential skill for new drivers. Use this quiz to practice for your driver’s test.
Below is a synopsis of traffic light signals and rules: (For more complete information visit the DMV’s driver manual.)
You must come to a complete stop and remain stopped until the light changes green or a turn is allowed (i.e. right on red).
Flashing red light:
Come to a complete stop at the intersection. Yield to oncoming vehicles and pedestrians. If you encounter one at a railroad crossing you must come to a complete stop regardless of whether there is a train in sight or not.
A red arrow means you cannot proceed in the intended direction until the signal changes to a green or flashing red arrow.
Flashing red arrow:
Come to a complete stop and yield the right of way to pedestrians and vehicles coming the other way. Proceed when no other traffic is impeding your way.
Right on red:
At a right on red you must come to a complete stop before checking both directions of traffic and then proceeding to turn right. It is important to note that many lights in Virginia have posted signs at the light indicating that right on red turns are not legal at those particular traffic signals. Additionally, make sure to yield the right of way to other vehicles and pedestrians.
A green light signifies that it is okay to proceed through a traffic signal without coming to a stop as long is your way is not obstructed. Additionally, if you are turning left at a green light but do not have a green arrow, you must yield to cars coming the opposite direction on the lane you are about to cross.
At a green arrow you may proceed in the direction of the turn as long as there is nothing obstructing your way.
Yellow lights signify an upcoming light change. When you see a yellow light you should try to come to a complete stop unless you have already entered the intersection or it is unsafe to. If it is unsafe to stop before the intersection proceed with great caution and avoid speeding up to get through the intersection.
Yellow arrows signify that the signal for turning is about to change. Treat them the same way you would a yellow light. Come to a complete stop and don’t proceed through the turn unless it is unsafe or you are already in the intersection.
Flashing yellow lights:
These lights mean you should exercise extra caution in an area. They are used in a variety of situations. Sometimes these lights are used in areas where emergency vehicles often pull out.
Flashing yellow arrow:
A flashing yellow arrow means you may proceed through your turn and the intersection but you must yield to pedestrians and oncoming vehicles.
If you practice and go through this quiz multiple times you will be more prepared for your driver’s test and a safer driver. If you need additional help, consider contact Colonial Driving School or visiting the website to learn more about driver education.