It’s easy to take traffic lights and stop signs for granted or even view them as annoyances. If you’ve ever felt like you’ve caught every red light when you’re running late, you aren’t alone! Although they tack on a few extra minutes to our commutes, traffic lights and stop signs are essential for maintaining safety and order at intersections (and the chaos that ensues when lights stop working is proof!).
However, not all drivers take red lights and stop signs as seriously as they should. Whether they’re distracted, trying to shave a few seconds off their trips, or think that the coast is clear, too many drivers in Oklahoma habitually run red lights and stop signs. When they do, they put themselves and other drivers at a major risk of serious and potentially fatal injuries. In fact, running red lights and stop signs is a significant risk factor for crashes in Oklahoma!
What’s the History of Traffic Lights and Stop Signs in the U.S.?
As more and more cars appeared on American roads in the early 20th century, it became clear that traffic needed to be managed. The first stop sign was created in 1915, and by the late 1920s, the now-familiar four-letter red octagonal sign was being installed nationwide. Around the same time, three-color traffic lights were also becoming widespread, paving the way for intersection safety.
Despite being around for nearly 100 years in their modern forms, too many drivers still fail to obey stop signs and red lights. In fact, drivers failing to come to a complete stop at stop signs is the most common cause of all traffic accidents. More than 800 people died and 137,000 were injured due to drivers running red lights in 2016. Running red lights accounted for 39% of all injury-causing crashes that year!
“Stop on Red” Week Highlights Intersection Dangers and Crash Statistics
Because of the dangers associated with negligent drivers at intersections, the National Coalition for Safer Roads established Stop on Red Week in 1995, to be observed the first full week of August each year. The week is designed to bring awareness to the serious safety risks drivers face at intersections.
Important Intersection Safety Statistics:
- More than 660,000 people received tickets for running red lights on Fridays in 2018.
- More red-light violations occur in May than any other month.
- Red-light cameras reduce fatal red-light crashes by 21% in large cities.
- 43% of drivers reported running a red light in the past 30 days!
How You Can Do Your Part During Stop on Red Week
Although a significant risk factor in intersection crashes is other drivers, you can take a few steps to protect yourself and others when approaching traffic lights and stop signs, such as:
- Never try to beat a red light—If a traffic light turns yellow and you’re a good distance away from the intersection, immediately begin slowing down and preparing to stop. Speeding up puts you at risk of running the red light and colliding with another vehicle that has the right-of-way.
- Don’t slam on your brakes when the light turns yellow—It’s important to use good judgment when stopping at intersections. If you’re already almost through the intersection and the light turns yellow, keep going. Slamming on your brakes can cause an accident.
- Wait before entering the intersection when you get a green light—Don’t be too eager to press the gas pedal when you get a green light. Pause briefly—doing so can reduce your risk of being struck by a red-light runner.
- Come to a complete stop at stop signs—Many drivers roll through stop signs or treat them as yield signs. To comply with the law and reduce accident risks, you’re required to come to a complete stop, at which point you should look both ways before proceeding.
- Take the Stop on Red Pledge—Safety begins with you, and ensuring your friends, family members, neighbors, coworkers, and everyone else in your life does their part to keep Oklahoma’s roads safe. Take the Stop on Red Pledge today and make our intersections safer for all drivers!
Hurt by a Negligent Driver at an Intersection? We’re Here to Help.
At Parrish DeVaughn, it’s our goal to help injured drivers get compensation when others cause them harm. Many of our clients were hurt when other drivers failed to stop at stop signs and red lights. Our years of experience with these types of cases means we know how to maximize your chances of getting every penny you’re owed for your medical bills and lost wages.
Contact us today for a free consultation.