It's one of the basic rules of driver education that so many people just can't seem to remember, or if they do, they choose to ignore it.

Maine got pounded with rain all day with strong winds added to it overnight on March 30. That produced a lot of power outages across Central Maine Power's coverage area. At one point over 10,000 homes were without power.

On my way into work at 4:30 that morning, I drove through a stretch of road from around Pride's Corner in Westbrook to almost the intersection of Forest Avenue and Warren Avenue in Portland which had lost power. There are three traffic lights on that stretch that had no power.

Remembering my driver's education handbook from when I was 15, I knew that if a traffic light isn't working properly, you should treat the intersection like a four-way stop. At every traffic light outage I stopped at, everyone else just ran right through it. One person almost t-boned a driver because neither one of them stopped to yield to the other.

Police always have to remind drivers of what to do in this situation like the Westbrook Police did when a traffic light wasn't working in 2020.

According to Maine traffic laws, "The operator of a vehicle at intersecting public ways has the right-of-way over a vehicle on the operator's left and must yield the right-of-way to one on its right. An operator of a vehicle who intends to turn left must yield the right-of-way to a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction when the approaching vehicle is within the intersection or so close as to constitute an immediate hazard."

Pretty basic stuff there too, but the right-of-way often gets ignored as well.

So remember kids. If your traffic light is out, just pretend in your head that it's flashing red. That also means stop and yield to the person on your right, in case you missed that lesson back in driver education too.

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