! Spanish News Today – No other EU country has it: All about Spain’s controversial flashing orange traffic light putting motorists and pedestrians at risk

Publication date: 08/24/2022

A recent study in Spain highlighted the danger of lights that are both amber for cars and green for pedestrians

Spain is now the only country in the EU to still use flashing amber traffic lights and for good reason, as road authorities in several other countries have pointed out the real risk this system poses to both drivers and pedestrians. .

In the UK, intermittent signals were removed after they were proven to increase the risk of pedestrians being run over, and the Safer Roads Foundation (SRF) recently highlighted the risk posed by the confusing signal:

So what are the rules for amber traffic lights?

  • If the amber (or yellow or amber) light is static, drivers should treat it as a red light and stop their car, unless it is unsafe. This would be the case if pressing the brake did not stop the vehicle in time or if it posed a risk to the passengers.
  • If the amber light flashes intermittently, motorists may cross, always exercising the utmost caution and watching for pedestrians and other vehicles.
  • At pedestrian crossings, walkers should always wait for the green man before entering the road when there is a static orange light for cars.
  • If the orange light is flashing, pedestrians have priority over vehicles.

In the latter case, pedestrians still need to be extremely careful when crossing the road, as many drivers do not know how to proceed with amber lights.

“The fact that a child, correctly following the ‘green man’s’ instruction to cross, could be killed by a flashing orange is extremely concerning,” said SRF chairman Michael Woodford.

According to the DGT, in 2020, 35 pedestrians died and 198 others were hospitalized in Spain after being run over at traffic lights. The numbers were even worse in 2019, with 47 deaths and 317 hospitalizations.

To analyze the problem in detail, SRF commissioned a study of two areas where yellow lights are on at pedestrian crossings: the Jorge Luis Borges roundabout in Burgos and Avenida de la Unión Europea in benidorm. In both cases, the data showed that the presence of an amber traffic light put pedestrians at much greater risk, and the report recommended “removing or changing some of the timings of these traffic lights.”

In Benidorm in particular, experts have advised that traffic lights remain red whenever the pedestrian light is green.

Lots of options, but no solutions

The DGT has already made several recommendations to improve road safety, such as removing flashing yellow lights at pedestrian crossings and replacing them with red lights only for vehicles when the green man appears.

Right turns are another complicated problem, and traffic authorities have suggested that on single-lane roads, the amber light may remain once it lasts no more than 5 seconds. Another solution on the table is to completely remove the flashing green man at crossings with less foot traffic and replace it with push-button traffic lights.

There appear to be plenty of options, but for now at least Spain appear to remain the only nation with flashing amber lights as DGT are reluctant to make a final decision on the matter.

In the meantime, vigilance is the best defense and extreme caution should always be taken when navigating a crosswalk.

Image: Pixabay

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