It’s easy to rely on stoplights, but there is a rule of thumb in the case that the lights go out.
Local law enforcement wants to inform all drivers of exactly what to do in that situation and more.
Senior Officer Andy Mehlhoff says to treat it like an all-way stop.
That means fully braking as if there are red lights all around, and the driver to your right has the right of way.
He said this is a common problem that the police department gets calls about every time the lights go out.
“If people don’t treat it as a four-way stop, it’s treated as not yielding to traffic and major accidents occur in the intersection,” said Mehlhoff.
He said another place where this happens often is at uncontrolled intersections where there are no stop or yield signs. He said to always yield to the right and if you can’t see, you’re better off making a full stop than just yielding.
Power outages are especially an issue in bad weather. For instance, a few weeks ago when it rained for about four days straight, dispatch was talking a lot of calls about the traffic flow.
With winter seemingly here, it’s important to remember now as well.
Construction zones have also been the biggest problem areas right now where drivers just aren’t abiding by the change in speed limits.
“Just be mindful as a driver,” said Mehlhoff. “Be cautious of speed, and also be a defensive driver and be cautious of your surroundings as well. You may be a good driver yourself, but everybody might be mindful.”