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Accident at a red light

I’ve been watching the news and there is some controversy about the accident that Venus Williams was in a couple of weeks ago. It was in the news again last night and I noticed something watching the video. From the time she legally entered the intersection until she got hit was only 4 seconds. Makes me wonder just how short was that yellow light.

doesn’t make much sense without more information. Most don’t even know how she was hit, front, rear, side…etc

She entered the intersection but a car coming from the opposite direction turned in front of her forcing her to stop. After the car that cut her off cleared, she proceeded forward and got hit on the passenger side. The video of the accident came from a body cam from an officer that was apparently issuing a ticket to someone else and just happened to catch it.

The video is very grainy but you can tell that from where she entered the intersection until she was hit was only about 4 seconds. The other driver had a green light when she entered the intersection. The elderly passenger died a couple days later. He was on blood thinners.

You can legally enter an intersection on a yellow. She must have entered at the end of the yellow.

Did she legally enter the intersection? I thought you weren’t supposed to enter an intersection until you can make it across without blocking traffic when the light changes.

What I’ve read about the collision suggests she should have stopped before entering the intersection because traffic blocked her from making it across.

I just seconds ago watched an update. Police now believe Venus was in the right and not responsible.
The investigation is still underway and no liability has been officially assigned as yet.

Tragedy is an equal opportunity result of inattention. We would all be wise to take this lesson from this tragedy.

Companies that sell red light cameras to municipalities require the municipalities to shorten the yellow light time to generate more revenue before they will sign a contract. I don’t know what the law is in every state, but here in NY, if you are going straight, you may not enter the intersection unless you can get through it without stopping. If you are turning left, you are to proceed almost to the center of the intersection and wait until it is clear to complete your turn. This means you may be legally completing your turn when the light is green for cross traffic. One of the problems with this is that people have no idea what lane they are required to turn into and some of them mare a left turn into the very curb lane of a street that is 4 lanes in each direction.

All of that might be true, but none of us knows what actually happened. I’m inclined to wait for results of the official investigation before placing any blame. Whatever those results are, I’m sure it’ll be made public.

I agree when it comes to the police investigation, but we don’t know how the civil case will play out. You never can tell. There is often no relationship between criminal court outcomes and civil court outcomes. The police investigation might exonerate Williams, because they have a higher burden of proof, but she can still be sued and lose, because the burden of proof in civil court is much lower.

I don’t know if it was those dang flashing yellow left turn lights or not, but I just about got hit twice within a week at the same intersection. I had green both times and half way into the intersection and a car making a left turn from the other direction on a flashing yellow. I don’t know how you avoid it except give people a wide berth regardless of the color light.

Watching the video it seems to me to be the “perfect accident”. Such timing is unusual, that is if both vehicles were proceeding on a green light. But you can bet 10 lawyers have already called the widow.

A lot of the confusion surrounding this incident is that the body camera footage of the officer’s conversation with Venus Williams was released and aired on TV. In that segment, the policeman said that he thought she was probably at fault. His comment was made as a snap judgement without the aid of an investigation. Given that the 70-something man was on blood thinners, he must have died from internal bleeding.

I think it’s another George Carlin quote concerning the meaning of a yellow traffic signal. “PUT IT TO THE FLOOR”!!!

I’m surprised that there is a flashing yellow light for the turn. Around here, it would be flashing red.

We have a roundabout that I’m surprised doesn’t have more accidents. One entrance is an exit off the highway, another is an entrance onto the same highway, and the last is a two way road. The road has a flashing yellow light and the exit has a flashing red light. Still, some people think that the flashing red means that drivers going through the flashing yellow should alternate with them. When the highway exit lane gets too full, the flashing yellow speeds up for several seconds then turns red to empty the exit lane. The exit lane gets a green light when this happens. Those impatient flashing red drivers that want to jump in front of other drivers entering the roundabout are just asking to get hit. At least it is a low speed merge for everyone.

Just to clarify, flashing yellow left turn signals are the latest DOT idea to increase sales of signal lights. It used to be green, solid yellow, then red. Now its green, flashing yellow, solid yellow, and red. A flashing yellow means you can proceed with the left turn if the traffic is clear even though they have a green light. So it means you have to watch out for cars turning when you have a green light where they used to have a red left turn light. Sure it helps at night with little traffic but beware sleepy drivers.

I watched the vdo just now. I couldn’t see the traffic lights, but it appear Venus was driving perfectly safely, not aggressively, and just got stuck in the intersection awaiting another car to turn. The other driver for unknown reasons just plowed into her car without appearing to even slow down. They may have been distracted by something else, or the sun was in their eyes, etc.

That accident reminds me of one I saw where a large (16-20 foot) panel/moving truck was turning left at a stop sign. It was a big truck, probably didn’t want to spill what was inside the back, and as I watched it made that left turn very slowly. A lady coming down the cross street didn’t slow down one iota, and simply ran into it, a glancing blow off the front of the truck. It seems implausible she wouldn’t have seen the truck. From what I could tell she was actually trying to speed up to try to get past in front of the truck rather than waiting the 30 seconds it would take for the truck to safely complete its turn.

@Whitey, she could not have predicted that the oncoming car was going to suddenly turn in front of her. I believe she entered the intersection with the belief that she would be able to make it across without blocking traffic.

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I believe Venus had the right-of-way over the car that turned left in front of her, i.e., if she would have just run into it, she’d be better off vis-a-vis the lawsuit. Of course, she also could have looked right and (maybe) seen the car coming toward her right and stayed put while it flew past her front bumper.

They give you a flashing yellow light while oncoming traffic has a green light… Wow, that is confusing? We don’t have any of those around here. What state is this in and how is a driver who has never seen one supposed to guess that he has a yellow and oncoming traffic has a green? He can’t see what they have.

As far as different outcomes in criminal and civil cases, just ask OJ.

The yellow arrow indicates you must yield to oncoming traffic, those were used in the southwest 30 years ago. After it was soon proven that daydreamers didn’t observe that the light was yellow and not the traditional green arrow for left turns it was changed to flashing.