I recently rented a car in Jeju, South Korea. While I managed to get used to most of the traffic rules there which are different from what I'm used to (such as right turn on a red light) I got really confused by some traffic lights. Several times I observed the following sequence:

Red > Green > Amber and Green > Green > Amber > Red

The Amber and Green part is only on for a second or so before going back to Green only.

Now the bold part has me confused for two reasons:

  1. I'm used to Amber and Red together (before changing to red), but I've never seen Amber and Green together. I thought it could mean that it's about to change to Red, but that's obviously not what's happening since it goes back to Green.
  2. I would think that Amber usually indicates a change of the signal, however here it went right back to Green.

So what does this mean?

I found animations online where the same thing happens, but with a green arrow. (See for instance this Korean wikipedia article). This is not what I saw, there was no green arrow. My best guess is that this happens when one of the other traffic lights on the intersection go through a change and this is just to indicate that change.

  • Intersection full? so you do not cross the pedestrian lines until the intersection is clear? May 27, 2019 at 8:20
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    @NeanDerThal I forgot to mention, this mostly happened at rural intersections where there aren't many pedestrians (or cars for that matter).
    – drat
    May 27, 2019 at 8:51
  • It seems similar to Europe: Round green give you right just to go straight, If you turn left the cars on the opposite direction have yield. When you have an green arrow, you have yield on that direction (first green). Amber green just remember you that you have no yield turning left. May 27, 2019 at 8:57
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    @GiacomoCatenazzi Yes, that's how I know it from Europe as well. But in this case there was no arrow at all, it's just green for a while, then amber lights up for a very short moment before going back to green.
    – drat
    May 27, 2019 at 9:45
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    @drat If the animation does not match what you have observed, it would perhaps make sense to either remove the animation or fix it. It seems to lead to confusion about what you actually are asking about. In the animation, it is obvious that the amber light is lit to draw attention to the extinguished green arrow, but if I understand your text correctly, this is not what you are asking about. May 27, 2019 at 10:09

2 Answers 2


Not 100% sure, but since Road Traffic Authority website saysSorry, Korean...

Amber light on (NB: Not blinking):

  • Signal changing, stop before the intersection.
  • (Cars) Permitted to turn right, provided you do not hinder pedestrians.

If your signal had 3 lights (Red - Amber - Green), I am assuming it is case for the second bullet point.

  • Thanks for the translation! I don't think this is what's happening here though. The amber light does not stay on, it is just on for a short moment before going back to green only.
    – drat
    May 29, 2019 at 0:59

I am guessing this may be some kind of a holdover from the old pre-1978 system where yellow didn't mean yield, or transition, but instead meant it was OK to turn left. Sort of like a left arrow.

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