Traffic signals are in place to help control the flow of traffic and keep everyone on the roadway safe. In actuality, traffic deaths in signaled intersections are rising dramatically across the nation. NBC News reports that the number of people dying in car crashes involving red-light runners is at its highest point in 10 years, signaling a need for increased education about the dangers of navigating intersections with traffic lights.

Current estimates suggest that two people lose their lives each day on America’s roadways because other drivers fail to stop for red lights. In total, 939 people passed away in red-light-related car crashes in 2017, which is a 28% uptick over the number of lives lost due to the same circumstances in 2012.

Possible contributing factors

While Georgia has enacted hands-free legislature that bans the use of handheld cellphones while driving, not everyone adheres to these laws, as just about anyone who has ever stopped at a Georgia red light can attest. Often, the temptation to check a text message or email proves too much for many drivers. When drivers experience distraction at red lights, crashes become much more likely.

Light-timing issues

While cellphone use receives much of the blame for the uptick in crashes resulting from drivers blowing through red lights, other factors may be at play. Some safety advocates believe that poorly timed traffic signals are to blame for at least some of the problem. For instance, a light needs to remain yellow long enough for a driver to safely navigate his or her way through the intersection. If the yellow period is too brief, drivers may proceed through intersections anyway, even though a light turned red, which can lead to more crashes.

Because the number of red-light-related car wrecks is rising so substantially, it is critical that you exercise extreme care when making your way through intersections with traffic lights. If you have teen drivers living in your home, make sure that they are aware of the risks involved with navigating signaled intersections.