Police remind drivers dark stoplights aren't treated as a four-way stop

- Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses are without power, and that means stoplights are out, too.

Many believe a dark stoplight should be treated as a four-way stop - and that system seems to be working fine - but Michigan State Police say that's not actually the way to do it, according to the Michigan Vehicle Code.

Michigan State Police tweeted out the information Tuesday, in anticipation to Wednesday's wind storm.

"The intersection reverts back to the basic right-of-way requirements, not a four-way stop. Use caution and courtesy!"

You can read basic right-of-way requirements here from the Michigan Vehicle Code. The gist -- the street with the heavier traffic has the right of way. If two vehicles get there at the same time, the driver on the right has the right of way.

"The rule is if you are approaching an intersection and someone has already entered it, you yield to them and they continue on their way," said Lt. Michael Shaw, Michigan State Police. "If you approach an intersection and you get there at the same time as someone else, the vehicle to the right, has the right of way. They can continue going and you have to stop for them. If you come up on an intersection that has a right access road, and nobody's there you don't have to stop. You use care and caution and go through."

The law is listed in the Michigan Vehicle Code Section 257.649, drivers must use the right of way requirements.

The listed law says:

Sec. 649.

(1) The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection shall yield the right of way to a vehicle which has entered the intersection from a different highway.

(2) When 2 vehicles enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right.

(3) The right of way rules declared in subsections (1) and (2) are modified at through highways and otherwise as stated in this chapter.

(4) The driver of a vehicle approaching a yield sign, in obedience to the sign, shall slow down to a speed reasonable for the existing conditions and shall yield the right of way to a vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the driver would be moving across or within the intersection. However, if required for safety to stop, the driver shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if there is not a crosswalk, at a clearly marked stop line; but if there is not a crosswalk or a clearly marked stop line, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway.

(5) The driver of a vehicle traveling at an unlawful speed shall forfeit a right of way which the driver might otherwise have under this section.

(6) Except when directed to proceed by a police officer, the driver of a vehicle approaching a stop intersection indicated by a stop sign shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is not a crosswalk shall stop at a clearly marked stop line; or if there is not a crosswalk or a clearly marked stop line, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway. After having stopped, the driver shall yield the right of way to a vehicle which has entered the intersection from another highway or which is approaching so closely on the highway as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver would be moving across or within the intersection.

(7) When a vehicle approaches the intersection of a highway from an intersecting highway or street which is intended to be, and is constructed as, a merging highway or street, and is plainly marked at the intersection with appropriate merge signs, the vehicle shall yield right of way to a vehicle so close as to constitute an immediate hazard on the highway about to be entered and shall adjust its speed so as to enable it to merge safely with the through traffic.

(8) A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction.

DTE Energy is calling Wednesday's wind storm the "largest weather event in DTE history." The FOX 2 Weather Authority Team says the highest wind gust recorded was 68 mph at Metro Airport, although most of us experienced gusts in the 60s. Hurricane-force winds begin at 74 miles per hour.

As of 12 p.m. Thursday, DTE says more than 665,000 customers are still without power. The restoration process is expected to take multiple days. DTE says they expect 90 percent of customers to have power restored by the end of the day on Sunday. 

Many schools were closed Thursday and there were reports of damage to numerous properties. The winds fanned a blaze that killed five people in a Detroit apartment building and pushed a plane carrying members of the University of Michigan basketball team off a runway during takeoff southwest of Detroit.

They are working 16-hour shifts to assess the storm damage. Crews have also joined in the effort from Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, New York and Pennsylvania.  

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