Rules of the Road
CAUTION UPDATING
To Road Traffic Laws as at 1 March 2013

Driving School Ireland,
Phone 071 9162311 or 087 6688797

Section 7:

Traffic lights and signals

This section builds on Section 6, which covers traffic signs and road markings. This section covers two general forms of traffic signals:

  • traffic lights, which direct the flow of traffic, and
  • signals given by motorists and cyclists to indicate their intent.

Traffic Lights

These include lights controlling junctions and pedestrian crossings.


traffic lights


A red light means 'stop'. If the light is red as you approach it, you must not go beyond the stop line at that light or, if there is no stop line, beyond the light.


A green light means you may go on if the way is clear. Take special care if you intend to turn left or right and give way to pedestrians who are crossing. A green light is not a right of way, it is a licence to proceed with caution.



REMEMBER
A green light is not a right of way, it is a licence to proceed with caution.



An amber light means that you must not go beyond the stop line or, if there is no stop line, beyond the light. However, you may go on if you are so close to the line or the light when the amber light first appears that stopping would be dangerous.


A green arrow (also known as a filter light) means that you may move on in the direction of the arrow, assuming it is safe and the way is clear, even if a red light is also showing.


If you wish to turn right at a set of traffic lights that has an arrow to the right, drive into the junction when you see a green light, taking care not to block any oncoming traffic. Then, when it is safe, finish your turn. You should only wait for the filter arrow for turning right when you are in the junction and if it would be dangerous to finish your turn before the filter light appears.


A flashing amber arrow pointing left can appear at a junction with another road. It means that you may move on past the traffic light, but only if you first give way to traffic already coming through the junction on the other road.



traffic lights


Remember that a flashing amber light at a pelican crossing means you must yield to pedestrians. See Section 18, on pedestrian lights.



REMEMBER
You should always approach traffic lights at a speed that will allow you to stop if the amber light appears.



Cycle track lights

  • A red light showing a figure of a cyclist means that the cyclist must stop at the traffic light.
  • A green light showing a figure of a cyclist means the cyclist may move beyond the light as long as this does not put other road users in danger.
  • A flashing green light or an amber light showing a figure of a cyclist means the cyclist may not cross the road unless they had started crossing when there was a steady green light showing a figure of a cyclist.

bicycle traffic lights


Signals by motorists and cyclists

A motorist must always signal before they change their course. This means signalling clearly and in good time before:

  • moving off,
  • turning right or left,
  • changing lanes,
  • overtaking,
  • slowing down, or
  • stopping.

Signalling

Signals are an indication of intent - they do not confer a right of way. The law requires you to signal your intention of doing things on the road. This means signalling properly before moving off, turning right or left, changing lanes, overtaking, slowing down or stopping. You must signal clearly and in good time. If you are not certain that your direction indicators or stop lamps, for whatever reason, are giving an adequate signal, use clear decisive hand signals as well.


Hand Signals

Make sure that any signals you use help rather than confuse other road users. If you are using hand signals, be familiar with the images below showing the signals drivers and cyclists must give to other traffic and to someone directing traffic.


The signals for the cyclist also apply to motorcyclists and people in charge of horse-drawn vehicles and/of agricultural machinery not fitted with indicators.


The following are the hand signals to be used:


Hand signals to be given to traffic behind you

cyclist signal turn right

I am going to move out or turn to my right.

motorist signal turning right

cyclist signalling to turn left

I am going to turn to my left.
Note that the car driver moves his arm and hand in an anti-clockwise direction.

hand signal car turning left

cyclist hand signal to slow down

I am going to slow down or stop.

motorist signal to slow down


Hand signals to be given to a pointsman and on-coming traffic

cyclist signal turn right

I want to turn right.

motorist signal turning right

cyclist signalling to turn left

I want to turn left.
Note that the car driver points the right forearm and hand with the fingers extended to the left.

hand signal car turning left

cyclist hand signal to slow down

I want to go straight on..

motorist signal straight ahead


The signals for the cyclist apply also to a motorcyclist and to a person in charge of a horse drawn vehicle.


REMEMBER
Signals show only what you are intending to do - they never give you right of way.





















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