How to *Avoid Running a Red Light*

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As a driver there is nothing more stressful than approaching a busy intersection.  Cars are waiting in the middle to turn left, traffic going in all directions, pedestrians on all corners or crossing the street and then to add to the mix your traffic light is about to turn red.

Intersections are without a doubt the most dangerous locations that traffic has to travel through and running a red light can cause catastrophic consequences.  This is the reason that the traffic fines are the most expensive and count the highest against our driving record.

This article will provide you with valuable information and safety tips on;

What your rights are as a driver. 

How to properly stop at a red light.

What constitutes running a red light? 

How Police Officers determine if a driver has ran a red light. 

Your rights

You have the right of way once you are inside the intersection.

The key is being inside the intersection.

Once you’ve entered an intersection than as a driver you have the right to continue driving through the intersection or finish making a proper left turn.

Warning: when making your left turn be aware of oncoming traffic trying to beat the yellow light.  This is where most accidents occur and if the oncoming traffic enters the intersection before the light turns red than the other car has the right of way.

Where to properly stop at a red light

The limit line is a solid white line approximately 3 feet in front of the crosswalk.  You have entered the intersection once you pass the “limit line” and the right of way is in you favor to proceed forward.

If the light has turned red than stopping before the limit line is the proper place to stop.

If there is no limit line than it is your responsibility to stop 3 feet in front of a crosswalk or where a crosswalk would be if there is neither.

What constitutes running a red light

If the light turns red and you are still behind the limit line or where a limit line would be if there is none than you have committed a red light violation.

How Police Officers determine if a driver has run a red light

An Officer monitoring an intersection will have a clear view of the traffic signal and also a clear view of the limit line.

The Officer will first observe the traffic light turn red at which time he/she will secondly look at the limit line and than watch to see if any cars that are behind the limit line continue through the light.

It takes approximately 1 to 2 seconds for the Officer to look from the red light and then focus on the limit line and any traffic crossing over the line has ran the red light.

Note: traffic photo cameras are also set to activate if a car passes the limit line once the light has turned red.

Safety tips

If you’re approaching an intersection and the light is yellow it means you have about 3 seconds before it turns red.  A yellow light is a warning to approaching drivers that the light is about to turn red so the best safety tip I can give you is that yellow means stop.

If your light turns green and there is still a car inside the intersection waiting to turn left than you must wait until the intersection is clear before you can proceed.

The limit line is the key factor.  The simple rule to avoid running a red light is to stop behind the limit line once the traffic light has turned red.

Drive safely.

Article also posted on, and by Scott Hallock


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