Traffic Lights and Signals

Traffic lights can also be known as traffic signals and light signals are signalling devices located at junctions, roundabouts, pedestrian crossings and used on motorways.

Traffic lights were first introduced to London in 1868. Traffic lights use of the sequence red, yellow/amber, and green are used to give the right of way to road users and pedestrians.

Traffic light sequence:

  • Green light illumination allows traffic to proceed in the direction indicated.
  • Orange/yellow light illumination, prepare to stop before line if safe to do so.
  • Red light illumination prohibits any traffic from proceeding.

Traffic lights on red
Red traffic light

Red traffic light

Red means ‘Stop’. Wait behind the stop line on the carriageway.

Traffic lights red and amber
Red and amber

Red and amber traffic light

Red and amber also means ‘Stop’. Do not pass through or start until Green shows.

Traffic lights green
Green traffic light

Green traffic light

Green means you may go on if the way is clear. Take special care if you intend to turn left or right and give way to pedestrians who are crossing.

Traffic lights amber
Amber traffic light

Amber traffic light

Amber means ‘Stop’ at the stop line. You may go on only if the Amber appears after you have crossed the stop line or are so close to it that to pull up might cause an accident.

Traffic lights filter arrow
Green filter arrow

Green filter arrow and lights for trams

A green arrow may be provided in addition to the full green signal if movement in a certain direction is allowed before or after the full green phase. If the way is clear you may go but only in the direction shown by the arrow. You may do this whatever other lights may be showing. White light signals may be provided for trams

Motorway traffic light signals

Motorway traffic lights - do not proceed
You must not proceed further into this lane motorway sign
Motorway sign-change lane
Change lanes motorway warning light signal
Motorway fog sign
Reduced visibility ahead motorway sign
Motorway lane ahead closed sign
Lane ahead closed motorway sign
Motorway accident ahead sign
Motorway accident ahead sign with temporary speed limit
Motorway leave at next exit sign
Motorway Leave at next exit light signal
Temporary speed limit motorway sign
Motorway temporary speed limit advised sign
End of restriction motorway sign
End of restriction motorway sign
Flashing traffic lights
Flashing traffic lights

Flashing traffic lights

Alternate flashing red lights mean YOU MUST STOP! Located at level crossings, lifting bridges, airfields, fire stations, etc.

Motorway lane control signs
Motorway lane control signs

Motorway lane control signs

Green arrow – lane available to traffic facing the sign
Red crosses – lane closed to traffic facing the sign
White diagonal arrow – change lanes in direction shown

Further information on traffic lights

For further information on traffic lights and how they work, see:


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