Red light spells danger if you jump the lights
- Credit: Archant © 2006
Red light jumpers make me see red, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
Call me naive but when I learned to drive I was taught to stop at red lights. Now when you approach red lights you need eyes in the back of your head and to be a mind-reader before deciding whether to stop and go.
Too many drivers see the amber light – between the red and green phases – as an indication to put their foot down... on the accelerator, not the brake.
The Highway Code states under its section about junctions controlled by traffic lights: 'You MUST stop behind the white 'Stop' line across your side of the road unless the light is green. If the amber light appears you may go on only if you have already crossed the stop line or are so close to it that to stop might cause a collision.'
But what do you class as 'so close'? It depends on your speed and the road conditions – although you should be driving appropriately for them – and, might I suggest, what is behind you and how close it is.
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You have to make a split-second decision and often when I have gone through a set of traffic lights on amber, before they turned red, the car behind, or even the next two or three, have sailed through as well, leaving me wondering what would have happened if I had felt I had had time to stop.
In the rush-hour lights can actually turn green but you can't go immediately because inconsiderate – no, just plain dangerous – drivers are still 'nipping' through their red lights the other way.
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They risk a £100 fixed penalty notice and three points on their driving licence or a fine of up to £1,000 and points in court. But the price could be much higher in terms of loss of life or limb – jumping red lights is just not worth that risk.