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Is it safe to speed up for a yellow light?

| Jun 29, 2021 | Injuries |

You’ve probably had a common experience, which is when you’re driving down a road at the speed limit, toward a green traffic light, and it suddenly turns yellow. You’re in this sort of no-man’s-land where you don’t think you’ll make it through the intersection before the light turns red, but you also would have to slam on your brakes to stop in time. 

What should you do? Do you speed up to make it through the light? Do you stop?

The law says you need to stop

Without a doubt, the law indicates that you need to stop at the light if you cannot pass through the yellow without exceeding the speed limit. Breaking that limit — or failing to do so and consequently running the red light — is illegal. 

To some degree, it’s a safety decision. For instance, some research has shown that large trucks are more likely to try to make it through the yellow. The reason is that these trucks weigh so much that they have longer stopping distances. If you feel like you’re right on the edge in a sedan, a truck driver may already be at the point where they can’t stop before the intersection. 

One thing to remember is that the drivers behind you should keep a large enough following distance that they can stop in time, even if you slam on the brakes. Stopping may feel jarring, but it should not cause a rear-end accident as long as they are giving you enough space. 

Have you been injured in a wreck?

Driving is full of questions like this, and people make the wrong decisions — far too often. If one of them hits and injures you, be sure you know what legal options you have to recover fair compensation for your injuries and losses.