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Drivers Getting More Daring + Signal Lights Seem to Confirm It

Traffic lights
Scott Olson, Getty Images

When I first started driving a car at 16, I was taught that when a light is yellow, you should be stopping unless you’re just about at or right under it.  When your light turned red, the light in the opposite direction, simultaneously, turned green.

Nowadays, if the lights changed at the same time, every intersection would be a mess of twisted metal because, over the years, people apparently became so pressed for time that they couldn’t be bothered to stop when the light turned yellow or even red!  In fact, it’s not uncommon to see 4 or 5 cars race through a light once it’s turned yellow with the last 1 or 2 flying through a the red light.

As time goes on, it’s getting worse and I suspect that fact isn’t lost on the D.O.T. because at many intersections the amount of time between one light turning red and the other going green is getting longer. That’s, undoubtedly to allow for the last 5 or 6 stragglers to get through the (already red) light.  It’s funny (not really) when drivers can see the light turn red for crossing traffic and they start to pull out into the intersection in anticipation. Eventually, they stop as they get a dirty look from an uncomfortably close red light runner.

Me? I’m always in the wrong place. Too often as I proceed through a green light I’m nearly mowed down by some idiot who’s trying to get though his red before my green. When I approach a green light, too often I’m behind someone with blue hair (often driving a Buick) who is about under the light when it turns yellow and they feel the need to power brake and come to a screeching halt.

Now that winter’s almost here, things will be even more challenging as we combine drivers’ stupidity with the inability to stop on a dime.  I can hardly wait.

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