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A new law effective in October requires that when motorists approach intersections with nonfunctioning traffic signals, they must stop at any clearly marked stop line before entering the crosswalk or the intersection.

After stopping, the driver must yield to any vehicle or pedestrian in the intersection and remain stopped until it is safe to enter and continue through the intersection, according to Maryland State Police.

Traffic lights can be interrupted by storms, traffic crashes or other incidents that cause power outages. Violations of the new law carry a fine of $90 and two points on a driver’s license if the offense does not contribute to an accident. If the violation contributes to a crash, the fine is $130 and three points.

Under the law that expired Sept. 30, if two vehicles approach an intersection without a traffic light or with a malfunctioning one from different directions at the same time, the driver on the left must yield the right of way to the vehicle on their immediate right.

When a standard traffic light goes into a “flashing mode,” with red lights facing one direction and yellow lights facing another, drivers approaching the red flashing light must stop and can only proceed when the intersection is clear. Drivers approaching the yellow flashing light should slow down and use caution but are permitted to proceed through the intersection without stopping.

If a police officer is directing traffic in any intersection, motorists should obey the directions of that officer, regardless of the signal indicated on the traffic light.

John Wharton