Dangers of Ignoring Traffic Signals

We’ve all witnessed a driver going through a red light without stopping, and many of us have seen the aftermath of that choice. Traffic signals are meant to keep us safe, and disregarding them leads to many of the 5.2 million car accidents that occur annually in this country. It is important to know more about disregarding a traffic signal and its effect on other drivers.

Why Do Drivers Ignore a Traffic Signal?

Since nearly 60 percent of drivers admit to ignoring a traffic signal occasionally, this behavior carries a measure of importance for the motor vehicle operator trying to drive safely. Some of the reasons drivers give for running a red light are:

  • The driver misjudges the time it takes for the traffic signal to go from yellow to red.
  • The driver is in a hurry. 
  • The driver is speeding and cannot stop in time.
  • The motor vehicle operator is distracted and did not notice the traffic signal.
  • Intoxicated motorists are often unable to judge distances.
  • The driver is daydreaming.
  • The traffic signal is hidden by unmaintained foliage.


Negligence is a major reason why drivers ignore traffic signals. Your attorney will investigate the accident and determine liability. The evidence will be used to lodge a personal injury claim. Aside from driver negligence, government agencies can also be at fault. For instance, in some accidents, a traffic signal is hidden by neglected for foliage, something for which the city is responsible. If the driver cannot see the traffic signal, the negligence rests squarely on the failure of the government agency to do their job. A personal injury claim can be filed against the city. However, the time limit to file differs from other personal injury cases. Your attorney will ensure that all documents are filed in a timely fashion.

Incidence of Accidents Involving a Red Light

  • Most accidents caused by running a red light occur in the afternoon hours between 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm.
  • Memorial Day is the most likely time for a red light crash.
  • Red-light runners are more likely to ignore a traffic signal on a Friday.
  • Many traffic signal accidents occur when drivers are unfamiliar with the road.

Preventing Traffic Collisions Involving a Red Light

There are specific ways to stop the incidence of red-light accidents:

  • Lengthening the time a yellow light is on:  The city agency in charge of traffic signals can increase the time the yellow light remains on. This helps avoid running a red light by giving drivers more advance notice that the light is changing and allowing them to slow to a stop.
  • Traffic surveillance cameras: Installing traffic surveillance cameras is another way of decreasing red-light accidents. When drivers are aware that the cameras capture cars moving through a red light, they are more likely to stop to avoid penalties. One study showed that this fear slowed the amount of red light running by 67 percent.

Olinde Law Firm

If you have been harmed or a family member dies due to a traffic signal accident, you have the right to place a lawsuit against the negligent party. Just call the Olinde Law Firm at (800) 587-1889 to schedule a free case consultation. You can also reach out to us online. We will review your case, answer your questions and give you your options going forward.