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How dangerous is driving through a red traffic light?

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Drivers go through red lights if they are distracted, in a rush, have faulty judgment, are speeding, are impaired by alcohol or drugs or mistakenly assume it’s fine to drive right through. They probably realize it is against the law and poses a significant risk of injury or death for others. 

Statistics prove that zipping through an intersection when the traffic light is red can have terrible consequences. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 163 individuals lost their lives in Alabama between 2008 and 2017 because of drivers who drove through red lights. In all 50 states, the total number of deaths caused by drivers traveling through red lights during that same period was 7,869. 

What can be done to curb “red light running”?

There are some solutions. Some remedies lie in the hands of officials. Others are in drivers’ own control. Red light cameras are one answer. They seem to reduce the frequency of red light running and make it more likely that offenders will be nabbed and held accountable. 

AAA suggests a few conditions for implementing cameras at intersections. Among them are having vigilant police department oversight of cameras, informing motorists that cameras are being utilized and having them be just one part of an overarching plan to reinforce safe driving practices for the public. 

What drivers can do 

Drivers can beef up their own driving skills to avoid collisions at intersections, especially crashes caused by failure to obey red light signals. 

  • Notice the status of traffic lights as you pull up to intersections. Tap lightly on your brakes before completely stopping. This will warn drivers behind you to take notice of a red light ahead.
  • Don’t proceed in haste. When the traffic signal goes green, glance in both directions prior to accelerating.
  • Common sense and sound decisions are paramount. If a light is green for several moments, it is about to turn yellow. Drive accordingly.

If you were in the path of a red-light running driver

Going through a red traffic light endangers people. If you sustained injures from a driver who ignored a red light, you may have methods of legal recourse available to you.