Yellow Light Time Standards

Legislation mandating proper yellow light times is mostly non-existent. It is one of the goals of this project to establish national standards to protect motorists.

For the purposes of this project, we have put together a general guide to appropriate yellow light durations.

This guide is intended to help identify potentially dangerous short yellow light times. Whenever possible, suspicious timings will be confirmed by a trained, objective traffic engineer.

Recommended Yellow Light Times
Three seconds should be the absolute minimum time for any intersection.

25 MPH -- 3.0 Seconds
30 MPH -- 3.5 Seconds
35 MPH -- 4.0 Seconds
40 MPH -- 4.5 Seconds
45 MPH -- 5.0 Seconds
50 MPH -- 5.5 Seconds
55 MPH -- 6.0 Seconds


For your information, a technical explanation of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) formula for calculating yellow light times is included below (source):