- " Marty put his hand on the stick shift. He looked up at the stoplight. Jennifer saw the light for traffic going the other way had changed from green to yellow. Needles gunned his engine again, and Marty pressed his foot down on the clutch. / Jennifer opened her mouth, but she didn't know what to say. Wasn't there any way she could stop this from happening? And all because of this Nobody calls me chicken! business. / The light turned green. Needles' racing truck roared away from the intersection. / Marty just sat there. He turned to Jennifer, shrugged and smiled. / 'And he's definitely nobody,' Marty said. "
- —From Back to the Future Part III by Craig Shaw Gardner (quote, pages 209 and 210)
A traffic light was a set of three colored lights — red, yellow and green — at an intersection to control the traffic flow. The sequence of lights was red ('stop' — commonly referred to as the stoplight), red and yellow together ('wait'), green ('go'); and green, yellow, red.
In a previous timeline, on October 27, 1985, Marty McFly was waiting in his Toyota Hilux 4X4 at an intersection in Hill Valley for the traffic light to turn to green, when Douglas J. Needles pulled up alongside in his Ford F-150 truck and challenged Marty to a drag race. However, Marty crashed into a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I that had pulled out of a side street, which resulted in his not only sustaining a broken hand, leaving him unable to play the guitar again, but also being sued for damages by the Rolls-Royce's owner.
Fortunately, a new timeline was created after Marty returned to 1985 from 1885. When the traffic light turned green, Marty backed out of the race by putting his truck into reverse as Needles' truck sped away, and he and Jennifer Parker watched as, up ahead, Needles was forced to swerve to avoid a collision with the Rolls-Royce.
Behind the scenes
- In the United Kingdom, a traffic light is referred to in the plural, traffic lights, while the yellow light is called the amber light.