Semi-Truck Accident At US98 And Polk State College In Lakeland

Truck Accidents

A semi-truck accident was reported at the intersection of US98 and Autumnwood Grove Boulevard in Lakeland, Florida on March 17, 2017.  The intersection involved is the entrance to Polk State College.  The accident happened at approximately 8:00 a.m.  No further details were released.

Busy Intersection On A High Speed Limit Road

This particular intersection has a traffic light that requires drivers on US98 to stop in an area where the speed limit is 60 mph.  This intersection further has what I would call a “long” yellow light because of the speed.  This “long” yellow light can be hard for unfamiliar drivers to safely judge.  Stopping unnecessarily on a yellow light may confuse the driver behind you and result in a rear-end collision while guessing wrong and running the light (particularly if you speed up in the process) can result in a serious traffic accident that could seriously hurt or kill another driver.

What Does Florida Law Really Say About Yellow Lights?

Section 316.075, Fla. Stat. covers how drivers are supposed to act when facing green, yellow, and red lights respectively.  The law says regarding yellow lights:

(b) Steady yellow indication.—
1. Vehicular traffic facing a steady yellow signal is thereby warned that the related green movement is being terminated or that a red indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter when vehicular traffic shall not enter the intersection.
2. Pedestrians facing a steady yellow signal, unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal as provided in s. 316.0755, are thereby advised that there is insufficient time to cross the roadway before a red indication is shown and no pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway.

Therefore, this means that the government is warning drivers that the light is about to turn red for which you are not allowed to enter the intersection.  While this concept may seem simple in discussion, a trip out to any major intersection should show you that drivers do not actually do as they are supposed to.  The truth is that real-world behavior does not support a true understanding of what it means.  Some of this may be the government’s fault in having intersections with yellow lights of different lengths.

So What Should You Do?

If you face a yellow traffic light, the right thing to do is to stop if you can.  If you are not going more than 5 mph over the speed limit, then you should be able to stop at just about any traffic light even if it may be a harder stop than you want to make.  If you have to make a hard stop, then you should take a look around before doing so to see whether you trust that the behind you can also stop.  The best accident to be in is the one that never happens.  Unless you are going to grossly violate the red light, you may be better off going through a yellow light if someone is close on your tail and your gut tells you that they are not going to stop.

Trucks Sometimes Have A Difficult Time Stopping

Because of their size and weight, some semi-trucks will have a very difficult time stopping for a red light.  While a rule of thumb is that a truck driver should never outrun their ability to safely stop if need be, it can be hard to know where the line is on safety until you get in the situation.  A semi-truck that is unable to stop at a red light should be honking its horn repeatedly to warn other drivers that the truck is not or cannot stop for the red light.

It is important to know that honking their horn does not give a truck driver the right to run a red light.  If you hear a truck blowing its horn at an intersection, there is a strong likelihood that the truck is going to run the red light and you should stop even if your light just turned green.  Again, the best accident is the one that never happens.

Talk To A Lakeland Truck Accident Attorney About Your Accident

If you have been injured in a car or truck accident in Lakeland, you should contact a Lakeland truck accident attorney to discuss the insurance claims that will be made and whether you have a lawsuit.  An appointment with a truck accident attorney is free.

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March 17, 2017