Ask a Trooper: Can you advance into the intersection on a blinking yellow light?

Published 8:04 am Thursday, August 29, 2019

Question: When turning left on a blinking yellow light, should one pull into the intersection?

It seems like a blinking yellow should let at least one car through, but often cars will wait behind the line, negating the ability to move traffic through the intersection.

Answer: If you are preparing to turn left at a flashing yellow light you must enter the intersection with caution as oncoming traffic has a green light.  Drivers are able to turn left after yielding to all oncoming traffic and to any pedestrians in the crosswalk. Drivers must wait for a safe gap in oncoming traffic before turning.

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If a vehicle ahead of you is signaling for a left turn, slow down and prepare to stop.  Do not enter the intersection in case the traffic light turns red as you might not be able to clear the intersection. This type of maneuver is against the law per Minnesota statue 169.15 IMPEDING TRAFFIC; INTERSECTION GRIDLOCK.

The intersection gridlock law applies specifically when entering an intersection at a traffic control light when traffic is already blocking the intersection due to a red light, train, etc. Entering the intersection in this case is against the law. When one direction of traffic is unable to proceed on a green light because vehicles on the cross road are stopped and blocking the lanes of traffic, it creates issues with the flow-of-traffic