If you’re a parent, you likely know all about telling young children to look both ways before they cross the road. It’s something that many parents have to repeat hundreds of times, for years, and the children still may not be as vigilant as you’d like.
As an adult, you do this instinctively when walking or jogging. In the car, though, you probably just trust the traffic control systems. If you have a red light, you stop; if you have a green light, you drive. You don’t need to check both ways because the rules of the road — and the traffic light itself — will make sure you’re safe. Right?
Look anyway — because you can’t trust other drivers to obey the rules
If safety is your goal, don’t trust traffic lights. Don’t trust other drivers. Even when you know it should be safe to proceed into that intersection, take a moment to look both ways.
The reality is that two people die every single day in the United States — on average — when other drivers run red lights. And those are just the fatality cases. Many more people see significant injuries, which may be life-altering, such as a traumatic brain injury that leads to a permanent disability. Still more see serious property damage and/or injuries to loved ones.
Red-light runners are very common and they increase the risks for everyone on the road. You shouldn’t have to look both ways at a green light, in theory, but it’s still wise. It only takes a second, and it may save your life.
After an accident, protect your rights and your future
If you get hit by a red-light runner, you may have a right to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other costs.