Hundreds of people die in accidents at red lights every year. In fact, some statistics show that more than 10,000 fatalities happen at intersections every year, and there are only around 40,000 traffic fatalities per year in the United States. With about a quarter of all fatalities happening at lights – and sometimes more – it’s important to take these risks seriously.
To begin with, let’s consider some of the reasons that a driver may accidentally run a red light. This can help you know what to look out for. As always, being a defensive driver and anticipating other people’s mistakes is a great way to avoid an accident.
Reason 1: They’re distracted
Distraction plays a major role in these types of driving errors. Someone might be turning to talk to a friend when the light turns red, for example. They might be looking down at the phone as they approach the intersection, so they never see that the light is red in the first place. You can cover 100 yards in just a few seconds at highway speeds, so even a quick distraction can be enough to cause a serious crash.
Reason 2: They’re impaired
Impairment by drugs or alcohol can also lead to red light running. Some drivers simply lack the perception to know where they’re supposed to stop. Others might not notice the light at all, or they may not realize it applies to them. They can get very confused about the road design or the position of the light – but it’s all because they’re impaired to begin with.
Reason 3: They’re speeding
In other cases, drivers simply find that they don’t have enough space to stop in time. They are often driving above the speed limit, and they opt not to slow down when the light turns yellow. They may be trying to speed up to make it through before the light turns red. At the last second, they may realize that they’re going to run the red light, but there’s no stopping it. They have already reached the point of no return.
If you do get injured in one of these car accidents, be sure you know how to seek financial compensation.