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Traffic Light Rules in India

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 26/05/2023

The most important safety rule for pedestrians and drivers is to recognise traffic signals and lights. These signals and symbols help to avoid confusion and maintain order on the roads. You must follow traffic signals to keep yourself and others safe and prevent accidents, traffic jams, and fatalities.

Even though you follow traffic rules correctly, sometimes accidents can happen. Motor insurance will protect you financially if any damage occurs to your vehicle in such an accident or natural calamity. Remember to invest in insurance for a car when you purchase your four-wheeler. Buy car insurance from Tata AIG since they offer hassle-free car insurance renewal online and offline services.

Despite the similarity of red, yellow, and green traffic lights worldwide, traffic signals and regulations may vary from country to country. Check out the traffic light rules in India below.

India's Traffic Signal Rules - What Are They?

  • Road traffic signals guide vehicles on roads by displaying traffic signs at intersections.
  • The design of road signals is to maintain complete order and prevent fatal accidents.
  • Traffic light sign on roads includes three colours: red, yellow, and green.
  • The red indicates that the vehicles must stop, the yellow indicates that they must slow down, and the green shows that they can go ahead.
  • Since red, yellow, and green have a higher visibility and wavelength than the other colours, traffic light signal rules use them.
  • At intersections or anywhere, traffic regulations are mandatory.
  • These traffic signal colour lights facilitate smooth traffic flow.
  • There are the same rules for traffic signals worldwide, no matter where you are.

Traffic Light Rules in India

Listed below are the types of traffic light rules in India.

1. Red Light

When the traffic light is red, the vehicle must stop immediately at the signal without continuing. Drivers should strictly obey red lights at traffic signals to avoid hefty fines.

2. Red Arrow

Red arrows work similarly to red lights, except they restrict traffic flow in one direction. Left red arrows indicate drivers who wish to turn left must stop at the red light. There are often lights like this on traffic signals that let some traffic flow while stopping traffic for another.

3. Flashing Red Light

When a flashing Red Light appears, you should stop, watch for oncoming traffic, and proceed. There is a flashing red light at the traffic signal in the early hours or when there is little or no traffic on the road. It is visible at the signal, even at railway crossings where the red light flashes.

4. Yellow Light

Yellow lights appear at traffic signals, indicating that the red lights will soon turn on. Yellow lights at crossings mean vehicles should slow down in anticipation of the red light, i.e., before the light turns red. The driver shouldn't stop midway at a yellow light if they have crossed the junction already, as the yellow light has already turned on. Instead, they should continue driving to avoid stalling in oncoming traffic.

5. Flashing Yellow Light

When a 'Flashing Yellow Light' appears at an intersection, drivers must slow down before continuing. Usually seen late at night and early in the morning when there is not much traffic on the road, a flashing yellow light appears at the crossing. Furthermore, it refers to keeping an eye on the road and slowing down when necessary.

6. Green Light

When the intersection has a green signal, you can proceed. It is safe to drive forward when a green traffic signal appears. However, maintain caution when going through a green light, as pedestrians or cars may jump at a red light.

7. Green Arrow

In traffic signals, a green arrow indicates a specific direction equivalent to a green light. Some traffic can move in one direction while others can move in another under this type of green signal.

Types of Traffic Signals in India

Regarding function and operation, traffic signals fall into three categories.

Traffic Control Signal

Traffic control lights use red, yellow, and green as traffic control signals. Red lights mean "stop", yellow lights mean "wait or slow down", and green lights mean "Go ahead". There are three types of traffic control signals based on their working mechanism:

  • Fixed Time Signal: Based on the traffic conditions on a particular road, the Fixed Time Signal automatically repeats the cycle of red, yellow, and green lights according to the preset timings without human intervention.
  • Traffic Actuated Signal: Based on traffic intensity, the traffic police can adjust the traffic light timings in this system. It may be possible to change the timing of the lights based on traffic conditions.
  • Manually Operated Signal: A traffic police officer must monitor this type of signal according to traffic movement on the road by manually operating it. Due to this, traffic lights at certain intersections take longer to change than usual because the traffic policeman runs them manually and adjusts them based on traffic conditions throughout the day.

Pedestrian Signal

In addition to traffic lights and signals, pedestrian signals provide a safer crossing at signalised intersections by working with traffic signals.

Special Signal or Flashing Signal

There is a flashing yellow or red signal at the crossing. A red flashing signal serves more as a warning sign for motorists to stop before the line to check for oncoming traffic before crossing. In contrast, drivers of motor vehicles must proceed with caution when the yellow light flashes at the junction. It is also known as a 'Special Signal'.

Traffic Lights and Signals: Importance

Road safety relies on traffic signals and lights. Lights and signs help move traffic in an orderly manner and protect pedestrians.

These are some of the reasons traffic lights are essential:

  • Moving traffic Smoothly: At intersections, traffic signals regulate the movement of vehicles on the road, preventing traffic jams. The traffic signals ensure an orderly flow of traffic.
  • Lowers Accident Risk at Crossing or Junction: Oncoming vehicles cannot interact unrestricted at intersections when traffic is regulated. As cars move according to traffic light indications, it enhances road safety and reduces the chance of accidents.
  • Pedestrians Benefit from Traffic Lights: Heavy traffic movements make crossing the roads difficult for pedestrians, but traffic signals guide them when crossing.


In conclusion, traffic signals are necessary to keep us safe on the road, even though they can sometimes be annoying. If you see a red light, take a deep breath, relax, and consider it a little time-out, a break from the constant whirling and zipping. The purpose of traffic signals is to ensure that everyone using the roadways is safe and well-cared for.

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