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Yellow lights and the point of no return

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2020 | Car Accidents |

Have you ever had a light suddenly go from green to yellow in front of you on the road, leaving you unsure what you should do? You feel like you’re too far to just keep driving, but you’re too close to be able to stop. 

This is known as the point of no return. Maybe experts put it at about 100 feet. If you’re within that range, slamming on your brakes and trying to skid to a halt is more dangerous than just continuing through the yellow light, so you should keep going. 

If you’re outside of that, though, you are obligated by law to try to stop. The yellow light is a warning, but it means most drivers who see it need to immediately begin slowing so that they can stop by the time it turns red. 

Unfortunately, this is not always what people do. Many drivers are farther away than 100 feet when they see the light turn yellow, and they opt to speed up. They slam on the gas, break the speed limit, and try to make it through before the red. They see it as a challenge. They think it’s safe, as long as they make it in time. 

It’s not safe, though. Many end up running the red light at a high rate of speed. Even those who make it are breaking the speed limit, which is very dangerous in its own right. 

This practice of trying to beat a yellow light can lead to accidents with cyclists and drivers who enter the intersection or with pedestrians who step into the crosswalk. Those who suffer serious injuries may have a right to financial compensation