In my neck of the woods, there are a few drivers loudly complaining about red-light cameras. They claim that these intersection monitors, which snap photos of cars going through red lights so their owners can be mailed the ticket, are primarily there to generate revenue.
Frankly, I don’t care if they’re funding an open bar at the police squad’s Christmas party. I’m sick of red-light runners, and I’m good with anything that makes drivers slow down, instead of speed up, when they see the light is about to turn.
Yes, it’s personal. Many years ago, I got whacked by a young man who hit the throttle so far back from the intersection on a yellow light that there was still time for his light to turn red, for the all-directions-red to kick in, and then for my light to turn green. It was an older Camaro and rust-free throughout its chassis, which I was able to determine because I basically rammed a third door into it.
I never go through a recently-turned green light without looking both ways (you should anyway, but it’s now become a lifespan necessity), and crossing the street on foot becomes survival of the fastest.
As for turning on an advanced green arrow, forget it. It’s likely that you’ve lost half the available time because you’re waiting for those last half-dozen drivers to make their left-hand turns on a red light.
I even fear for my safety when I put on the brakes when the light ahead turns red. That’s because it’s likely that the driver behind me assumes I’m going to run it, and he’s coming up behind me at full throttle to stay in the game. I’ve had more than my share of squealing tires and upheld middle fingers behind me, because I had the audacity to obey the rules of the road. Of course, if the lane beside me is clear—including the turn lane—it’s just as likely that he’ll wrench the wheel to go around me and race through.
How much time do you save, exactly, versus the risk you’re creating to yourself, to other drivers, and to pedestrians? When you see the light turn yellow, slow down. When you see the light turn red, bloody well put on the brakes.
Some thirty-odd years ago, I got a ticket in Toronto for running a yellow light. (Of course, to this day, I maintain that it was still green when I entered the intersection.) When I tell people that story today, they don’t believe such a thing actually happened, but traffic signals were taken a lot more seriously then. It’s time for that attitude to return. If red-light cameras make drivers think twice, and realize that red really means stop, then as far as I’m concerned, they should be nailed to the post on every corner.