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Red Light Means Stop - Not Speed Up

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In 2008, approximately 165,000 people were injured, and more than 760 were killed in accidents that could be directly contributed to someone running a red light. This number is included in the approximately 2.3 million reported accidents reported at intersections, which may or may not have had a direct cause. Unfortunately, half of the people who were killed were not the ones running the light, but were innocent motorist, bicyclist and pedestrians who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. As a driver, here are a few tips to help you keep from being a statistic.

Simply Stop

One of the most important ways to avoid red light accidents goes back to basic driver's education. When you are approaching an intersection you need to be ready to do two things. You need to be prepared to stop, and you need to pay attention to traffic coming in your cross street.

Unfortunately, many drivers who cause red light accidents do so when they are trying to beat changing of the light. Sensing the light is getting ready to change causes them to speed up instead of slow down going into the intersection. This behavior often causes these types of drivers to be involved in t-bone accidents, or accidents in which they hit other driver broadside. Injuries are often caused due to:

  • The side of the vehicle having less protection than the front and back of the vehicle.
  • Impact taking place closer to the passengers in the vehicle.
  • The additional speed the offending driver picked up trying to get through the light.

Be Aware Of Intersections With Red Light Cameras

Red light cameras have been installed in many cities in 26 states around the country as a way to supposed catch offenders who are participating in running red lights. What happens is when someone runs through a light that is red, or is turning red, the cameras snaps a picture of the offending license plate and sends the registered owner a citation through the mail. This has resulted in a monetary windfall for some of the cities who have engaged in this practice.

What several studies have found is that there has actually been a rise in the number of accidents at intersections that have red light cameras installed. This has been contributed to:

  • An increase in the number of rear end collisions which have occurred as a result of motorist trying to stop suddenly at a changing light.
  • A manipulation or a reduction of the amount of time the yellow caution light is displayed, resulting in more offenders and higher revenues.

By being aware of the intersections that have red light cameras, you will be able to govern your driving accordingly. 

Know That Traffic Lights Do Malfunction

Although rare, there are times in which a traffic light or signal will malfunction. When this happens, they will often either give both drivers red lights, or give both drivers green lights. When you are approaching any intersection, always be aware of any traffic approaching from the cross streets. Just like you are unable to see their light, they are also unable to see yours. Quick thinking and quick stopping on your part may be what it takes to avoid an accident.

Do Not Become A Statistic

Although 96% of drivers fear being hit by another driver running a red light in an intersection, more than 55% of drivers admit to participating in the behavior themselves. When asked why they did this, most common excuse given is the fact that they were in a hurry. What they do not factor into the equation is the fact they will not get where they are going if they are involved in an accident.

Do not be one of these drivers. You can control your actions, and you should speak up when riding with someone who puts your life at risk. If the unfortunate happens and you are injured by a red-light runner, you should contact a professional car accident lawyer, like those at Master Weinstein Shatz Moyer, P.C., as soon as possible. They will be able to help you to receive the compensation you are entitled to, as well as send a message that not only is red-light running dangerous but it will result in consequences.