Y2K Worries: What to Do if Traffic Lights Don't Work

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If you're a Y2K pessimist and anticipate power outages and failed traffic lights along with other headaches on Jan. 1, here's one to keep in the glove box.

According to Dr. Brad Bradshaw of the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association, a national organization representing the nation's driver education teachers, in the event of traffic light failure, drivers should revert to right-of-way guidelines.

Laws vary by state, said Bradshaw, but generally speaking, right of way states the following:

In the case of a cross street ('X') intersection, the general rule is first person in, first person out.

When two vehicles approaching the intersection at perpendicular angles arrive at approximately the same time, the driver on the left yields to the driver on the right.

When two vehicles approach head-on, a different right-of-way rule comes into play: the person turning left must yield to oncoming traffic.

'Communication is key,' said Bradshaw. 'If you go charging [into the intersection], then a catastrophe's going to happen.'