Stop on Red Week Stresses Dangers of Running Red Lights
The campaign, which is an initiative of the National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR), runs from Sunday, August 7, to Saturday, August 13, 2022. It is designed to bring awareness to the dangers of running red lights and other traffic signals that lead to preventable crash-related fatalities.
PennDOT classifies red-light running as aggressive driving behavior, which puts motorists, passengers, and others on the road at an increased risk of a crash.
The number of crashes involving drivers failing to stop at a red light in PennDOT’s District 1, which includes Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango, and Warren Counties, is on the rise. After recording 231 red light running crashes in 2019, the figure increased to 239 in 2020 and 280 in 2021, according to PennDOT data.
There was one recorded fatality in the northwest region last year as a result of red-light running crashes and 146 suspected serious injuries.
Nationwide, the NCSR said more than 4.2 million drivers ran red lights in 2021, with more than 1.3 million occurring between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Additionally, Independence Day weekend was ranked atop the list for red light running during holiday travel periods.
Two people died each day in the United States, on average, in red-light-related crashes in 2019, and from 2008 to 2019, there were an estimated 9,227 total fatalities.
As the Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual states, traffic signals are installed at intersections to control the movement of vehicles and pedestrians. Below is a brief explanation of the meaning behind the lights on traffic signals:
- Red Light
When there is a steady red light, stop before crossing the marked stop line or crosswalk. If you cannot see any lines, stop before entering the intersection. Wait for a green light before you start. You may turn right while the light is red unless a “No Turn on Red” sign is posted at the intersection. You must first stop, check for and yield to pedestrians and other traffic. You may also turn left after you stop at a red light if you are in the left lane and are turning left from a one-way street onto another one-way street unless a sign tells you not to turn. You must first stop and yield to pedestrians and other traffic.
- Yellow Light
A steady yellow light indicates a steady red light will soon appear. If you are driving toward an intersection and a yellow light appears, slow down and prepare to stop. If you are within the intersection or cannot stop safely before entering the intersection, continue through carefully.
- Flashing Yellow Arrow
PennDOT has implemented a new type of traffic signal to provide a safer, more efficient left turn for motorists. The flashing yellow arrow indication is a new type of display that replaced the circular green indication for left turns at signalized intersections. The signal is more intuitive to motorists and, according to national data, can reduce left-turn crashes by as much as 20 percent. For more information on correctly using a flashing yellow arrow turn signal, watch this video.
- Green Light
A steady green light means you may drive through the intersection if the road is clear. You may also turn right or left unless a sign tells you not to; however, when turning, you must yield to other vehicles and pedestrians within the intersection.
For more information on traffic safety, visit www.PennDOT.pa.gov/safety.
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