Traffic Light Visibility & Buses Or Large Vehicles

Traffic Light Visibility Issues

Trucks, buses, and other large vehicles present us with reduced visibility

If you’ve been driving for a while, or if you are just beginning, you may have noticed this perceived ‘phenomenon.’

Traffic light visibility seems sometimes nonexistent. You know there’s an intersection, but where is the traffic light? What color is it?

This can be a little unnerving when driving at speed.

I’ve heard about this before from many drivers over my years of teaching. Unfortunately I’ve also heard of people driving straight though red lights following a truck / bus for this very reason.

The bus went through the intersection, so the light must be green, right? Not necessarily. Plus, this is not the way to drive, actions based on assumptions.

Traffic Light Visibility: I must tell you something

A typical, traffic light controlled intersection, has a ‘secondary’ signal light on the left side of the intersection.

This is helpful for instances like this, so that you can still see the light if there’s a larger vehicle blocking your view.

This light is often the exact same light as the regular one. As in, it’s the light for you. It’s the light you wanna see. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel. Wait what?

If it is a designated left turning signal, it will be made obvious.

Traffic Light Visibility: Look again


In this example the signal light is most definitely Red

This is a good detail to know. Especially if the conditions are not ideal, but even when they are, this is so important.

It’s necessary information so that you can control your vehicle speed properly, and ensure the traffic behind you is preparing to slow down if the light is red.

If not, it would be easy to get rear-ended if you suddenly slam on the brakes, not having realized the light was red.

What else can you do when driving to increase visibility in this situation?

You Can Leave more space (following distance) in front of you

I’m quite bad at math and physics, but I know something simple: the more space you have in front of you, the better your visibility.

By the way, if you’re one of those people who has been driving 5 years and has never noticed this ‘other’ traffic light, don’t worry. You are not the only one.

Read more: Changing Lanes In An Intersection – Why You Shouldn’t

Carmen Cohoe

Carmen became a driving instructor in beautiful North Vancouver at the age of 22 due to some crazy people who agreed to hire her. After that, there was never a dull moment teaching many different folks from many different places how to drive using automatic and standard vehicles and a minivan.

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