We then looked over just in time to witness a middle aged woman driving a minivan crash into the back of a nice luxury sedan full of people. The minivan was also carrying a full load of people (children to be specific). From what we were able to observe, the person in the sedan had decided to stop at the last minute for a light that had transitioned from yellow to red. The person who was in the minivan appeared to have assumed that the person in front of her was going to run the light, and she seemed content to follow suit as well- no matter what color the light changed to.
In the aforementioned scenario, I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not the person in the sedan had stopped so abruptly because they were trying to avoid what they thought was a red light camera intersection. All throughout the state of North Carolina, law enforcement officials have mandated the use of red light cameras at various intersections as a means of deterring people from breaking the law. However, has this idea backfired? I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people slam on their brakes at the last minute to avoid playing Russian Roulette with the red light camera systems. If there is even a chance that the yellow stoplight will turn to red, then you will see the person in front of you react accordingly. In fact, I have personally witnessed more car accidents that have been the direct consequence of a red light camera interaction. But are red light cameras really the answer?
While they may work as a deterrent to unlawful behavior for some, it seems as if red light cameras may be more troublesome than the creator(s) let on to admit. It is for this reason (as well as others) that whenever you approach an intersection, approach it with caution. If you see a green light at an intersection in the distance, maintain a steady speed with the possibility of knowing that you will more than likely have to break if the light suddenly turns. Other consequences of having red light cameras isn’t that people are forced to slam on their brakes. Rather, the problem is that they feel a need to speed up that much more. If you thought that speeding to avoid a red light was bad, try witnessing someone speed in order to avoid getting snapped by a red light camera. And there is no real way of escaping the flash photo of the camera either. You will know your fate when in a couple of weeks you receive a citation in the mail along with a snapshot of your vehicle going through the intersection in question. It is for this reason and others that you should always be aware of your surroundings. Don’t tailgate while you are driving, and always leave enough reaction time for when the light turns.