In 2017, 890 people were killed in crashes that began with running a red light, and another 132,000 people were injured. And with about 43 percent of adults reporting running a red light in the last 30 days, these collisions seem to be around every corner. Learn more about why running red lights can be such a dangerous habit, as well as what you can do if you’re injured in a red-light-related collision.
Defining “running a red light”
Many traffic jams are caused by someone who misjudges the speed of traffic ahead of them and proceeds into an intersection while a green light is on display. When said light turns red, these vehicles stay in the intersection, and the other traffic can’t get through, backing roads up in multiple directions.
In these situations, the involved vehicles aren’t considered to have “run” a red light—even if they are blocking others’ right of way when their light turns green. Instead, state statutes define “running a red light” as entering an intersection after the light has turned red. This would include turning right on a red light without first stopping.
Why running red lights is so dangerous
When a traffic signal turns green, drivers expect the intersection ahead of them to be unobstructed. A driver who sails through a light after it has turned red could risk running into other vehicles entering the intersection. Depending on the speed of the car that is running a red light, even if a driver looks both ways before entering an intersection, this may not allow enough time for either driver to avoid a collision.
Additionally, if traffic signals themselves are defective (if, for example, there isn’t adequate time between one light turning red and the other one turning green), the intersection could present a greater than average risk of red light accidents. Generally, traffic lights should be timed so that there are at least a few seconds to clear the intersection before oncoming traffic has the right of way.
When you’re recuperating from a red-light-related injury, you may be wondering whether any insurance payments will really be enough to compensate you for your losses. Having the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney or law firm throughout this process can be invaluable. At Harrell & Harrell, P.A., our personal injury lawyers have spent years helping clients document, prepare, and represent car accident lawsuits. Chat with us to learn more about how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.