Brian White | August 22, 2023 | Car Accidents
We’ve all been there—you’re running late for an appointment, you’ve hit every red light so far, and you’re approaching that troublesome intersection that will take minutes to get through if you don’t catch the light. You’re almost at the intersection, but the light is yellow and turning red. You should stop, but you really want to keep going and get on with your day. Will it hurt to run the red light, just this once?
Unfortunately, it can hurt a lot. You, your vehicle, your passengers, and other drivers and bystanders. There’s a lot of danger involved in running a red light, especially in the distracted world we’re living in. In 2021, over 1,000 people were killed in the United States in car accidents that involved running a red light, and over 100,000 people were injured in such accidents.
There are legal consequences for running red lights, too. You might be pulled over for running a red light by a law enforcement officer and issued a traffic citation or criminally charged with a misdemeanor for disregarding a traffic light.
If you’re involved in a car accident as a result of running a red light, you will likely be at fault for the accident and responsible for the damages caused by the accident. These consequences can be expensive and stressful.
Why Do People Run Red Lights in Houston, TX?
Most people agree that running a red light is unacceptable. Yet, 1 in 3 people admit to running a red light in the past month. So why do people do it?
There are many reasons why people run red lights. They may be busy and have an appointment, work, or school pickup to make. They may not be paying attention and be distracted by their cell phone or the radio and run the red light on accident. Or, they may think it’s an innocent decision, and no one will get hurt because they don’t see anyone approaching the intersection from the other direction.
There is some research that the traffic light itself can contribute to red light running. Traffic lights with illuminated borders have proven more likely to catch the attention of drivers.
In addition, the length of a yellow light can reduce red light running. If the yellow light phase is too brief, drivers may not have time to come to a complete stop before the light turns red. If the yellow light phase is too long, it increases the risk of drivers treating the yellow phase as a continuation of the green phase and, ultimately, running the red light.
What Happens if You Run a Red Light in Houston?
Running a red light in Houston can have expensive and disastrous consequences, including:
- Being issued a traffic citation. You may be issued a traffic citation and required to pay a fine or appear in court. If you’ve had other traffic violations on your record, you may be at risk of having your driver’s license revoked or suspended.
- Your auto insurance rate may increase. If you are issued a traffic citation or if you are in a car accident, your insurance rate may go up.
- Being criminally charged. In Texas, it is a misdemeanor to disregard a red light.
- You, one of your passengers, or an innocent driver or bystander might be seriously injured in a car accident.
- You may be responsible for any damages caused in a car accident. As a driver, you owe others a duty of care to drive safely. When you run a red light, you violate this duty of care, even if you believed you were driving with the flow of traffic or thought you were going to make it through a yellow light. You will likely be responsible for damages related to any property damage, injuries, or deaths caused by your decision to run a red light.
Clearly, these consequences far outweigh the benefit of getting to your destination a couple of minutes sooner.
How To Avoid Red Light Running Accidents
There are several things you can do to avoid causing or being involved in an accident related to red light running.
- Make a decision now to break the habit of running red lights, even if you are running late or “think you can beat the light.”
- Pause and look in all directions when entering an intersection right after a light turns green—this may alert you to other drivers running a red light.
- Always pay attention to the flow of traffic when entering an intersection.
- Follow the posted speed limits and follow other vehicles at a safe distance.
These are all measures you can take to help reduce the number of serious accidents caused by red light running in Houston, Texas.
Contact the Houston Car Accident Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
3120 Southwest Freeway, Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – East Fwy
11811 East Fwy, Suite 630-06
Houston, TX 77029
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – South Loop
2600 S Loop W, Suite 293
Houston, TX 77054