IRMA: How a 4-way stop works at intersection with broken traffic light

By Anthony Leone, Digital Media Producer
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 9:08 AM EDT

Originally posted on: 12:01 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017

Millions of Floridians are without power after Irma struck Central Florida and the rest of the state, but that also means that traffic lights, among other things, are out.

  • Come to complete stop at intersection
  • Take turns based on your arrival 
  • SEE BELOW: See safety tips here ▼

And it is dangerous when drivers do not know what to do when they encounter an intersection without a working traffic light, as some near collisions were witnessed by this news station on Monday.

However, Lt. Patrick Riordan of the Florida Highway Patrol offered drivers safety tips on how to travel on roads that have been impacted by the ravages of Irma.

If a driver comes to an intersection where the traffic light is no longer working, the driver should treat that intersection as a four-way stop sign, advised Riordan. And this includes all intersections, including divided highways.

Sgt. Kim Montes of the FHP went a little further and explained to News 13 that the first car to stop at an intersection has to the right of way to go first.

"Driver must follow the rules at an intersection with a traffic light out. Sneaking through an intersection behind a car that has legally stopped, is not only against the law, it is dangerous. If everyone waits their turn, it will flow smoothly and more quickly," stated Montes, a public affairs officer.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs echoed that advice during one of the many press conferences she held to give Irma-recovery updates.

According to Montes, troopers have stopped "hundreds" of cars since Monday for failing to stop at an intersection with a traffic light that is out.

If the intersection has a police officer directing traffic, the driver should follow the officer's directions, Riordan stated in a press release.

In addition to drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists need to be looking for cars not paying attention, Montes warned.

"At an intersection where is light is not working, a pedestrian has the right to cross the intersection and all cars should stop to let the pedestrian cross," Montes expressed to News 13.

Another issue that troopers are seeing are drivers going around barricades that have been put in place for their safety, she stated.

If drivers come to a flooded section of road, or even standing water, they should turn around.

"The area of roadway you cannot see beneath the water may be washed out or the water may conceal debris, tree branches or even power lines," explained Riordan.

Speaking of debris, drivers should reduce their speed if they see any on the road, especially if workers and equipment are there repairing the area.

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