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Red Lights · 7 October 2017


I do not know if it is a phenomenon outside of our town, but I see somebody run a red light almost every day.


I drive through the intersection of Main and Highway 2 in Monroe at least twice each day. The times vary slightly, but some car, truck, van, or other vehicle seems to run a red light every day. When I am at the front waiting for my own light to turn green, I look both ways to make sure the coast is clear. Usually, just before the light turns, but I also make sure on the way through. Just in case I missed seeing some vehicle speeding through still trying to make it even though (since I am going) the light on the cross street is obviously red.


Now, I know that if a vehicle is in the intersection when the light actually turns red, it is not running a red light (as long as it makes it all the way through the intersection). Maybe I am wrong, but it seems there are vehicles that are not even close to the intersection when the light turns red for them. Thankfully, I have not seen anybody literally crashing through yet, but people do seem to be ignoring the rules of the road.


Which got me to thinking. (I know that is dangerous.) What I wondered was whether the timing on traffic lights has changed over the years. I wondered if there was some delay between when a light turned red on one side and the light turned green on the crossing street.


I wondered this because I have seen so many people run the light and yet I have witnessed no accidents. Of which I am certainly glad.


I suppose that it could also be that not all the people I see speeding through have actually run red lights but got into the intersection before the light changed. In fact, I know that is often the case. But I have also seen many instances where the light was definitely red, and the vehicle sped through anyway.


I have shared this observation with our children. They drive through the same light and other lights where I have certainly seen drivers plow through reds, and so I let them know that they cannot just blindly enter an intersection. Even when they have a green light. It does not make total sense, but it is part of driving defensively. And I certainly want my children to be aware. Regardless of how old they are.


Whether people are just going through yellow lights and I cannot see or there is some delay between turning red on one side and green on the other does not really make that much difference to how I drive. Even when I have a green light, I will still make sure the coast is clear before I go through any intersection. After all, I do not want to be in the way of all those people I have seen run through the red lights.

© 2017 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Published October 2017 in Sky Valley Living

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