Home > Uncategorized > Driving in Israel Part 1: Traffic Lights

Driving in Israel Part 1: Traffic Lights

As promised long ago, this is the first of many posts on how to drive in Israel.  But first a disclaimer: I have not read a single publication on how you are supposed to drive in Israel. I have merely observed the behavior of fellow drivers and have adapted my behavior as far as I feel is safe and responsible.

In case you haven’t heard, Israelis are famous for being crazy drivers. Even Israelis are afraid of Israeli drivers. (And yes, they drive on the right.)






We’ll begin with the most important information: How to behave at a traffic light.

  1. It is NOT LEGAL to turn right on red. Ever. Anywhere. As many traffic laws as you see Israelis break, they will never ever ever break this one. I asked around about this, thinking the fine for getting caught must be pretty expensive. I was basically told that it was just unheard of and would be viewed much the same way as going the wrong way down a one-way street. It’s just stupid.
  2. BUT… if you are turning right at the intersection, look very closely. If there is a small triangular curb dividing the right turn lane from the straight traffic and there is no right turn signal, then you can turn right when the straight traffic has the Red light and you must yield to oncoming traffic. If you are in doubt, stop, and the drivers behind you will “let you know” if it’s OK to go.
  3. Red/Yellow Light Combo
    When you see this light, it’s time to take your foot off the brake pedal and hover it over the gas pedal. The driver behind you should no longer see your brake lights on. If he does, he will “let you know” they are on. If you are on a motorcycle, this is when you hit the gas.
  4. Green Light
    Stomp on the gas pedal at the exact moment the light changes from Red/Yellow to Green. The driver behind you will “let you know” if you are waiting too long.
  5. Blinking Green Light
    You can make it through if you are close–hit the gas. (Treat it like a yellow light in the US).
  6. Yellow Light
    You’re not going to make it–hit the brake.
  7. Red Light
    Seriously, stop. Go back to #1.

Next time: Merging with Traffic


  1. Denise
    December 7, 2011 at 20:22

    Driving sounds like an adventure – take care! 🙂

  2. Chris Schardein
    December 8, 2011 at 13:30

    That sometimes sounds like it is here!

  1. May 29, 2013 at 06:30

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