Why Do People Run Red Lights?

Green means go. Orange/yellow means wait. Red means stop. So, why are people running red lights and causing devastating accidents on our roads?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, you are more likely to be injured in a red light accident than any other crash type. It’s also one of the most common causes of urban crashes and has killed almost 9,000 people in the last decade.

And interestingly, 93% of surveyed drivers said running a red light is unacceptable, but one in three drivers reported doing it at least once in a 30-day period. Red light running claims lives, and it can be challenging to understand why people do it. Often, car drivers take their lives into their own hands and run red lights for some of the following reasons.


They’re Distracted

There can be many distractions while you’re driving, such as mobile devices, stereos, and onboard electronics. If people are using these while driving, they might not see that a light has turned red before reaching the intersection.

If you have been injured in a car accident due to a distracted driver running a red light, contact a personal injury attorney. They can fight for your right to adequate compensation for your injuries, car damage, pain and suffering, and related costs.


Authorities Have Removed Red Light Cameras

Studies have shown that red light cameras reduce the number of people running red lights. If the risk of putting someone’s life in danger is not enough to stop them from running a red light, then an expensive fine just might.

However, some states are seeing more accidents at red lights in areas where such cameras have been removed. In Houston, Texas, turning off red light cameras in 2011 resulted in a 23 percent increase in accidents at those intersections.


The Yellow Lights Aren’t Timed Correctly

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to traffic lights. Depending on the length of an intersection, it might take you much more or less time to navigate it safely. More red light running occurs in areas with yellow lights that are not timed appropriately for the intersection or are too short.


They’re Speeding

Speed is a risk factor in many accident types, so it’s perhaps not surprising to learn that it might be a factor in many red light-running-related accidents. When drivers approach traffic lights that turn yellow, they must make a split-second decision to stop at the intersection or keep going.

If they slam on their breaks to stop in time, they risk being rear-ended by drivers behind them. If they keep going, they risk running a red light and colliding with traffic with a green light. By slowing down in anticipation of a set of traffic lights, drivers might be able to reduce the risk of having to make this decision.


They’re Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

Drugs and alcohol significantly limit your ability to drive safely. You are less aware of your surroundings, potentially take more risks, and have slower reaction times. Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol might not respond appropriately at stop signs and red lights.

According to studies involving participants with a moderate dose of alcohol and a simulated driving task, alcohol might impair the driver’s control of speed and direction while prolonging their simple and complex reaction times. They had longer reaction times when the lights turned yellow and lower deceleration toward red lights and stop signs.


Let J. Alexander Law Seek Justice On Your Behalf

Red light runners can turn your entire world upside down, especially if their careless actions at an intersection resulted in your life-changing injuries. Don’t let them get away with what they’ve done. Contact our expert personal injury lawyers who can fight for a settlement figure reflective of the seriousness of your accident.