Rules of the Road: What do the blinking green lights mean in Canada?


Question: What do the blinking green lights mean when driving in Canada?

Answer: This answer comes from Bellingham Herald archives about getting around Vancouver, written by staff members.

In the Vancouver, B.C., metro area, drivers will find a blinking green light at some intersections. Treat it like any other green light. What it means is that the cross street drivers have a stop sign, not a signal. Only pedestrians and bicyclists on the cross street can push a button and turn the main street's light red so they can cross. Drivers on cross streets have to wait for a gap in traffic to cross. The blinking green lets you know that if somebody cuts across the street in front of you when you have a green, they didn't just run a red light.

Q: While I am driving in the HOV lane at the speed limit on Interstate 5 getting into or out of Seattle sometimes a faster car will pull up behind me. The driver will ride my bumper as if expecting me to pull into the lane to the right to let them go by. My understanding is that if a faster car wants to pass someone in the HOV lane, that car should move right into the passing lane and go around the slower car. So my question is: What is a driver supposed to do to pass a slower car in the HOV lane, and what is the driver of a slower car supposed to do in the HOV lane do if a faster car wants to pass them?

A: You have fairly well stated both your question and the answer. Yes, the HOV lane is to move vehicles and passengers smoothly through traffic. If someone decides that they wish to travel faster than the vehicle in front of them in the HOV lane, they need to move to the high-speed lane to effect the pass.


Rules of the Road is a regular column with questions and answers on road laws, safe driving habits and general police practices.

Answers come from David Wright, a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department who is now serving on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force.

For previous Rules of the Road columns or to ask a question, go to

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