Save Our Teen Drivers

Advocating for driver's education changes. Educating the public on the problem. Finding a solution that saves lives.

Does green mean go?

Posted by lapearce on August 11, 2009

We’ve all heard this saying before… typically as we yell it at other drivers who don’t get on the gas when the light turns green fast enough. But does green really mean go? Sure it sounds nice with its alliteration and quick to the point wording, but it unfortunately is not accurate. While not as piffy or repeatable, green actually means look and proceed with caution.

Too often do I see people who hit the gas at a green light with their eyes focused straight ahead. What if someone was running that light? They wouldn’t know until after they were hit. About two years ago I witnessed a red light crash where the truck in front of me ran a very red light at an intersection for a very busy freeway off ramp. She was so late in entering the intersection that she hit the third and fourth car in the line. I honked, which was the only thing that prevented another car from being involved (the driver thanked me for warning her) but the two cars involved didn’t even see her coming. They felt the intersection was safe, after all, other cars had already passed through, who could run a light that late?

Actually, a lot of people do. The National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running claims that 900 people were killed in 2007 because someone ran a red light. How many of those crashes could have been avoided if instead of going when the light turned green people looked first? Of course, all of them could have been avoided if people actually paid attention, slowed down and stopped at red lights. But remember: you aren’t everyone on the road. Common sense to you isn’t common sense to everyone.

When I witnessed the red light crash the woman who ran the red started to stop, but then instead got on the gas. She hit the brakes again just before hitting the cars. Maybe she was drunk or on drugs. Maybe she saw the light at the next intersection and thought she had the green. Maybe she was just a bad driver. There are a lot of bad drivers out there. Never assume that other drivers will obey the laws. If you are hit by a red light runner they are at fault… but wouldn’t you rather see them first, stop, and not be involved in the crash in the first place?

Here is a compilation of red light crashes/close calls that I recently found. Some of them are comical (I did laugh when the two white Ford Explorers hit and one of them tipped over and the near miss at 3:12 is incredibly lucky) but others are frightening and very serious. You will notice just how red some of the lights are when the people run them. Crashes like these happen every day. To avoid being involved in a crash like this remember: green does not mean go, it means look and proceed with caution.

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One Response to “Does green mean go?”

  1. I know of so many people that have had car accidents because they were too quick to “go”. It’s not worth it.

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