Traffic Signal Rules

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 17/04/2023

Road safety is something everyone needs to practise. This primarily involves knowing, understanding and following traffic signal rules. Adhering to these rules reduces the chances of accidents, traffic, road congestion and other issues you can encounter while driving.

Drivers and pedestrians use traffic lights and traffic signals to prevent confusion, maintain order, and keep both parties safe. These signals are often universal and are immediately understood by everyone. So chances are you already know what these signals mean.

With that being said, accidents, although rare, still do happen. This is why it’s crucial to have a bike insurance policy. Even a simple third-party insurance policy will help to cover costs in the event of an accident.

Traffic Signal Rules In India

Traffic signals are generally used as devices to direct drivers through traffic lights. They’re there to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and to prevent any major accidents from happening. Traffic lights are usually located on busy roads and intersections. They make the traffic police’s job a lot easier when it comes to controlling the flow of traffic.

Traffic lights have a universal colour code and are easily understood by everyone. There are three colours displayed:

  • Red: Indicates that you need to stop.

  • Yellow: Indicates that you need to slow down your vehicle. It also acts as a transition between the red and green lights.

  • Green: Indicates that you can go ahead.

A Detailed Look Into Traffic Light Rules In India

In addition to these lights, it’s important to know most hand signals when driving in India. This helps warn the other drivers on the road before you make a turning.

These hand signals are not mandatory and are primarily used whenever the driver’s indicator lights do not work. However, it doesn’t hurt to know what they are, as it ensures a smooth and safe drive.

Let’s take a closer look at what these traffic lights mean:

  • Yellow Traffic Light

A yellow light is an indicator of a red light - a transition between the green and red lights. Yellow light means that it is about to turn red, and it acts as a warning for drivers to slow down.

Often, drivers speed up and try to beat the yellow light, as it might lead to an accident, especially at an intersection where other vehicles may be entering.

The yellow light signal has two types of traffic signal rules:

  • Yellow Arrow: You can find yellow light arrows on intersections with right and left turns. Like the yellow light, you should be ready to slow down and stop at the turning when the light turns red.

  • Flashing Yellow Arrow/Light: You can see flashing traffic lights when driving late at night or early in the morning. A flashing yellow light or arrow indicates that you should slow down before crossing the intersection or taking a right or left turn.

Red Traffic Light

Typically the colour red is used to signal danger or warning. Likewise, the red traffic light indicates that you should come to a stop. You are advised never to ignore a red light. It can cause severe collisions with oncoming traffic.
Jumping a red light is considered a serious violation of traffic rules and a traffic offence. Here are the types of red lights:

  • Red Arrow: This indicates that you must stop your vehicle until the light turns green. Right or left turns at the intersection are prohibited until the arrow turns green.

  • Flashing Red Light: This indicates that you must stop your vehicle. You can see flashing red lights during late nights or early hours when there is either reduced or no traffic.

Besides intersections, you will also see flashing red lights at railway crossings, where you must stop and check for oncoming trains before crossing.

Green Traffic Light

Green light means that you can go ahead or proceed with driving. Always remember not to try to cross the intersection immediately after the green light. Instead, check to ensure no vehicles are entering, then proceed.

  • Green Arrow: A green arrow means “Go”. You can find these at turning points in intersections. You can turn right or left if the green arrow light is on.

Types Of Traffic Signals On Indan Roads

As stated before, there are two types of traffic signals:

  • Traffic Control Signal

The most common type of signal you’ll find on roads. The traffic control signals work on the traffic lights. So green is Go, red is Stop, and yellow is slow down. Based on their working mechanics, traffic control signals are of three types:

  1. Fixed time signal: This type of signal has a fixed repetitive cycle of red, green and yellow lights. It has preset timings that are determined and affixed based on traffic conditions. It is a simple mechanism that can operate automatically without any human assistance.

  2. Traffic Actuated Signal: This type of traffic signal changes based on real-time traffic conditions. For example, the duration of the green can extend to clear the vehicles accumulated at the intersection. Similarly, the duration of the other lights can also be changed.

  3. Manually Operated Signal: This is a human-operated traffic signal. Usually, the traffic police will observe traffic conditions and adjust the duration of the light accordingly. So the timing can be different during peak hours compared to other times of the day when there is less traffic. This type of signal needs continuous attention from the traffic police.

Pedestrian Signals


As you can see, traffic lights and traffic signal rules are necessary to maintain order and safety on the road. Traffic lights can be fully automated or manually operated depending on road conditions. In fact, most of the traffic lights you would have encountered were probably fully automated.

Overall, regardless of whether you are a new or experienced driver, it is essential to have insurance for your 2-wheeler. Tata AIG’s online bike insurance policies allow you to compare two-wheeler insurance plans to choose the best two-wheeler insurance plan for you.

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