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Ask A Cop: What does a blinking yellow light mean?

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Lake Oswego Police Department officials offer advice on a variety on topics through The Review's Ask A Cop.(A Lake Oswego police officer answers readers’ questions each week in this space. To submit a question, call staff reporter Cliff Newell at 503-636-1281 ext. 105 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

If the light is blinking yellow, can I wait in the intersection until it’s clear to go?

No. It’s not only illegal to stop in an intersection, but it is also dangerous for both you and other vehicles that may have a lawful right to enter the intersection. The view for an oncoming vehicle is severely limited when a vehicle is stopped in the intersection, and the result could be a serious crash.

ORS 811.550 strictly prohibits a vehicle from stopping within an intersection, even briefly. If you can’t make your turn without stopping in the intersection, then you are required to stop and wait before entering the intersection. ORS 811.555 (Illegal Stopping) is a Class D traffic violation that carries a fine of $110.00.

The violation could be more severe if for some reason you do choose to stop in the intersection and the light changes to yellow or red prior to you making your turn. You will then be facing a Class B traffic violation (Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device) that carries a fine of $260.00.

— Sgt. Gary DeMoss