Traffic light

Traffic lights – what do they mean?

If you’re taking driving lessons, you really must understand what the different colour traffic lights mean!

Standard traffic lights in the UK follow the same sequence – starting with red the sequence is: Red, Red and Amber, Green, Amber, Red.

Read below to discover why green sometimes means stop!


Red and amber

Red traffic light Red means that you must stop and wait behind the stop line. As you approach, check your mirrors – has the driver behind seen the light? Slow down early and be prepared for the lights to change. If the light is red when you arrive, stop behind the stop line. Red and amber traffic light Red and amber showing together alerts you to the fact that the lights are about to change to green. If the lights are red and amber as you approach, time your arrival so that they are green when you get there. You must not cross the stop line until the lights have changed to green. When red and amber show, prepare to move and check your mirrors.


Steady amber

Green traffic light Green means that you can move off if the way is clear and safe to do so. Look out for pedestrians and for traffic that may not stop at the lights. For example, emergency vehicles may proceed against a red light. Always check your mirrors before moving, especially if you are turning left (look for cyclists) or on a road with more than one lane of traffic (look for other road users who may change lanes). Amber traffic light Like red, amber means STOP. You may only proceed at a steady amber traffic light if you have crossed the stop line or are so close to it that stopping might cause an accident.

Green sometimes means stop!

Just because the lights are green you can’t automatically assume that it will be safe to drive through – always glance left and right to check, especially at traffic light controlled crossroads.

You might also see police cars or ambulances with blue lights flashing, a child on a bike who is a bit slow to get across the junction, a pedestrian about to step off the pavement…

With thanks to DriverActive