Next week (August 7-13) is National Stop on Red Week, a program started back in 1995 by the Federal Highway Administration to remind the public how important it is to pay attention to traffic signals and how dangerous it can be to try and sneak through an intersection as the signal changes from yellow to red. Red means stop is a lesson learned in elementary school and a fundamental building block of driver education. However, red-light running crashes are responsible for an average of 885 traffic fatalities a year—more than two fatalities a day—from 2000 to 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Most tragic is that these fatalities are 100% preventable. Drivers who run red lights typically are in a hurry, driving aggressively, are distracted or believe they won’t get caught for such a minor infraction. In fact, in a 2010 survey, more than one-third of motorists admitted going through a red light when they could have stopped safely in the previous month. Multi-vehicle or pedestrian-related crashes caused by red-light runners can be devastating, leaving fatalities or severely injured people in their wake. Waiting at a red light, especially when you’re feeling rushed, can be annoying and even make you late for work, but the results of running a red light can last a lifetime.
So, use this week as a reminder to go back to basics behind the wheel:
- Green means GO.
- Yellow means SLOW.
- Red means STOP!
If you’re still not convinced, check out the top 10 reasons to stop on red. Stopping at a red light is the law and it applies to everyone. Saving lives beats saving time every day of the week.