Can the police change the lights?

Traffic lights: how traffic lights & co. Ensure more safety

From, last update on: May 15, 2021

When light signals regulate traffic

Around 1.5 million traffic lights are according to the technology company Siemens in Germany in use to control road traffic and thus both for one even traffic flow as well as for less accidents to care. At the same time, however, they also mean that every German driver around two weeks of his life with that Waiting at a red light spends.

In Legal texts those interested are looking for the name "Traffic light" but in vain, instead, for example, is in the Road traffic order (StVO) from the Traffic light system (LZA) or Light sign the speech.

But which one Light sign can be distinguish? Which importance have the different Phases or displays? Which Sanctions threaten for that Disregard the red light the traffic light system? And when is that Run over a red light allowed? The following guide provides answers to these and other questions.

FAQ: traffic light systems

What is the cost of disregarding red traffic lights?

An overview of the sanctions that a simple or qualified red light violation can result in can be found here. You can also use this calculator to determine the impending fine, driving bans and points that are imminent after a violation.

How long does the amber phase of the traffic light last?

The duration of the yellow phase is usually based on the maximum permitted speed on the route (cf.VwV-StVO on Section 37, Paragraph 17, Point IX):
a) up to 50 km / h = approx. 3 seconds
b) up to 60 km / h = approx. 4 seconds
c) up to 70 km / h = approx. 5 seconds

What if the traffic light flashes yellow?

In this case, the traffic light system is out of order.

Excerpt from the catalog of fines for red light violations

DescriptionFinePointsDriving ban F banIs it worth an objection?
Cross the traffic light at "red"90 €1check here
... endangers others200 €21 month 1 mcheck here
... causes property damage240 €21 month 1 mcheck here
Crossed traffic light when "red" (red for more than 1 second)200 €21 month & depending on the offense, fine, driving license deprivation and imprisonment up to 5 years in accordance with Section 315c StGB possible1 M & depending on the offense, fine, driving license deprivation and imprisonment up to 5 years in accordance with Section 315c StGB possiblecheck here
... endangers others320 €21 month & depending on the offense, fines, driving license deprivation and imprisonment up to 5 years according to § 315c StGB possible1 M & depending on the offense, fines, withdrawal and imprisonment up to 5 years according to § 315c StGB possiblecheck here
... causes property damage360 €21 month & depending on the offense, fine, driving license deprivation and imprisonment up to 5 years in accordance with Section 315c StGB possible1 M & depending on the offense, fine, driving license deprivation and imprisonment up to 5 years in accordance with Section 315c StGB possiblecheck here
Turned right at a traffic light with a green arrow without stopping first70 €1check here
... obstructs pedestrian or bicycle traffic in the approved traffic direction100 €1check here
... endangers others100 €1check here
... causes property damage120 €1check here

Fine calculator: Red light of the traffic lights ignored

Light signals: which types are differentiated?

A Traffic light system must depending on the place of use various functions fulfill. Therefore can different shapes differentiate. The most widespread and best-known representative is the classic one Traffic lights. Officially, this is also called Alternating light signs designated. Both the Color sequence, their positioning as well as the importance of the individual phases in Section 37 (2) of the StVO Are defined. According to the StVO, the colors of the traffic lights are as follows importance:

  • Green: "The traffic is released".
  • Yellow indicates: "Wait for the next sign in front of the intersection".
  • Red orders: "Stop before the intersection".

Light sign have basically priority compared to existing ones Traffic signs and also lift at the respective intersection general rules on right of way on. In addition, the traffic light system can have a green arrow dispose of the Only allows traffic in this direction.

Make sure that there is no light signal from the general Due diligence gives birth. Motorists must also do this during the Green phase check that yourself no pedestrians on the intersection before continuing.

Is the traffic light not directly visible, will indicate the traffic light system with a Traffic signs (No. 131) pointed out. It is a triangular shield with a white background and a red frame. In the middle it shows three circles in red, yellow and green, one on top of the other Symbolize traffic lights. The traffic sign is intended to give motorists the opportunity to to adjust to the traffic light system and if necessary adjust the speed so that it is possible to stop in time.

Traffic light phases and associated hand signals from the police

If the traffic light fails, the traffic police can take over the traffic control with a hand signal. In parallel to the four traffic light phases, there are then four hand signals that drivers should be aware of. The following infographic shows the meaning of the individual instructions and traffic light phases:

What are continuous light signals?

Even with a so-called Traffic control system (VBA) can light signals - more precisely Steady light - are used. This is the Overhead adswho mainly focus on the Highways are installed. This type of traffic light system is intended for Improvement of the traffic flow contribute before Risk of congestion warn and generally to Increasing traffic safety contribute.

In addition to the Clues permanent light signals can lead to construction sites, accidents, moisture or traffic jams Block the lane or release it for driving. What the individual Traffic lights symbols mean results again from 37 StVO. It says:

  • Red crossed sloping bars indicate: "The lane may not be used".
  • A green arrow pointing down means: "The traffic on the lane is cleared".
  • A yellow flashing arrow pointing downwards at an angle indicates: "Change lane in the direction of the arrow".

Who one Lane with the permanent light signwhich "Red crossed sloping bars" shows, illegally traveled, must with Sanctions calculate according to the catalog of fines. Because the legislature evaluates such disregard of the traffic light system as one simple red light violation. Accordingly, at least one threatens fine in the amount of 90 euros as well as a Point in Flensburg. In the course of this, other road users became endangered or it even came to one accident, more far-reaching sanctions are planned.

Important! There is always a lane with a permanent light sign No stopping.

Traffic lights at the level crossing

In Germany cross the rails of the railroad with streets, paths and places more than 16,000 times. To look at this Level crossings for a Maximum security to worry, these are in several ways secured. One option is technical backup with the help of a Traffic light system.

This is either a red flashing light or yellow or red light signals. Both a red and a flashing light indicate that the road user is Stop in front of the level crossing and wait have to. The yellow signal the traffic light system prohibited Vehicles that are approaching the level crossing also do the Continue. Those who are already in the process of crossing, on the other hand, are encouraged to do so by yellow To vacate the area immediatelyn.

The technical security of level crossings is not only done with the help of a Traffic light system. In addition, barriers can also be used. These are to prevent Vehicles cross the rails. Which Type of backup Applies, results mainly from the Speed ​​of the train as well as the traffic volume on the crossing street. So is one Traffic lights and / or barrier prescribed on routes on which trains travel at a speed of maximum 160 km / h on the way. On sections of the route where a faster pace are driven no level crossings allowed.

Please note that the requirements of the traffic light system also apply if the Barriers not yet closed or are already open again. The journey must therefore first continued if that Signal goes out.

What happens if you ignore the signals from a traffic light system?

The legislature penalizes them Disregard of the red light of the traffic light system. The Sanctions result from the Catalog of fines. What a traffic offender because of one Red light violation threatens, depends above all on how long the traffic light has been red and whether there was a hazard or property damage.

So lies a simple red light violation before, if the traffic light system is driven over for less than a second stood on red. In this case there is a risk of at least a fine of 90 euros as a point in Flensburg.

Was the traffic light on the other hand red for more than a second, it is a so-called qualified red light violation. According to the catalog of fines, this person draws at least a fine of 200 euros, two points in Flensburg and a one-month driving ban after yourself.

In particular Exceptional situations Drivers are allowed to use the signals from a traffic light system to ignore. This is true, for example, if you are the police or an ambulance that is dealing with you Blue light and siren approach, Have to make room. In this case, you may carefully cross the stop line. Is the Defective traffic light and no longer jumps back to green, a rule violation is also allowed. However, you need to be safe wait at least five minutesto rule out that it is just a long red phase.
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