From distracted driving to reckless risk-taking, too many U.S. drivers continue to treat a red light as a suggestion rather than a potentially life-saving traffic signal.
In a recent study, the American Automobile Association found that red-light running deaths reached a 10-year high in 2017.
Statistics show an increase in injuries and fatalities
The AAA study found that more than two Americans die every day due to motorists who ignore or fail to notice traffic signals. In 2017, there were 939 fatalities due to red-light running accidents: a 28% increase since 2012.
Another study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that around 139,000 Americans experienced an injury in red-light running crashes in 2018, including drivers, passengers, bicyclists and pedestrians, who are often especially vulnerable at intersections.
Studies reveal a contrast between driver attitudes and driver behavior
According to the AAA’s Safety Culture Index, 85% of motorists consider it very dangerous to run a red light. However, almost one in three Americans admit that they have failed to stop at a red light at least once in the past 30 days, even when they could have come to a stop safely. More than 2 out of 5 drivers also admit that they do not believe a police officer will catch them in the act.
Caution at intersections may help to prevent a deadly accident
Drivers may be able to prevent a collision by approaching all intersections with extra caution. When entering an intersection, motorists should prepare to stop, even when they have the right of way. Taking the foot off the accelerator and holding it just above the brake pedal while entering an intersection may help to ensure that a driver can react to unexpected or illegal behaviors quickly and safely.