Have you heard of Idaho's "Dead Red" law?

If you're unfamiliar, think of it sort of like a get-out-of-jail-free card (within reason, of course) when you're stuck at a busted stoplight.

They're the ones holding Idahoans hostage at intersections until they decide 16 minutes is way too long to wait a red light. According to Idaho law, it's perfectly okay for drivers to take control of the frustrating situation—the law actually encourages it.

Per Idaho Code § 49-802, Gem State drivers are totally within their right to treat malfunctioning stoplights like stop signs.

**Again, this only applies when a driver is stuck at a red light that's not budging 😳**

If the signal fails to operate after one cycle of the traffic signal, the driver may proceed after exercising due caution and care.- Section 49-802, Chapter 8

 

Caution: Idaho's "Dead Red" law shouldn't be taken lightly.

Should a driver pass through a broken red light carelessly, the responsibility/liability falls strictly on their shoulders if something goes wrong.

That's why we can't stress enough how important it is to yield the right-of-way to other drivers and pedestrians crossing the street or intersection.

The "Dead Red" law helps drivers manage unresponsive traffic lights.

That said, it still comes with its own set of responsibilities and risks. It can lead to different interpretations because it's up to the driver's discretion to decide when it's safe to pass through an unresponsive red light. Sometimes, that means heightened road confusion, highlighting the need for caution and patience.

 

 

Common sense tells us misjudging a traffic situation can increase the likelihood of accidents, especially at busier intersections throughout Boise's Treasure Valley. Also, because this law is unique to Idaho, it may confuse the state's newer transplants and visitors who are unaware of it, making these scenarios even harder to manage safely.

So, while we agree that Idaho's "Dead Red" law is a pretty cool, well-intentioned loophole, it can still be pretty dangerous when misused or misunderstood.

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