Fatalities from running a red light have increased again

People aren't paying as much attention to traffic lights as they should -- and "running a red light" is quickly becoming one of the worst habits of American drivers.

Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that there's been a 28% jump in the number of people killed in accidents that involve a driver who ran through an intersection when the traffic signal was red. In 2017, a total of 939 people died in accidents caused by someone running the light.

Even though 85% of drivers admit that they know that running through an intersection after the traffic light has turned red is incredibly dangerous, about a third of drivers also admit that they've done it at least once in the last month. Short of seeing a traffic camera, most people are willing to take the chance that they won't get caught by police -- and they somehow convince themselves in the moment that the danger isn't that serious.

Knowing the dangers you face on the road is only half the battle. Here are some tips that might help you avoid an accident with a driver who ran a red light:

  • If you're in another car, don't rush the intersection the moment the light turns green. Instead, make sure that the drivers going in the cross-direction have all stopped before you proceed.
  • When approaching a light that's in the process of turning, tap your brakes a couple of times to signal the car behind you that you're stopping. That can prevent you from being rear-ended.
  • If you're a pedestrian, keep your eyes open, and pay attention to the traffic when you go to cross the street. Use crosswalks, but don't step into the road until you see the cars stop moving.
  • When possible, make eye contact with drivers before you step into the road. That helps ensure that they see you and are conscious of your presence.

Naturally, you want to avoid running red lights yourself -- because the risk of an accident simply isn't worth it!

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