Racing to a Red Light

image of a Red LightWe've all seen it and I'll bet that we all talk about them, drivers who race us to the next red light. Here they come, weaving through traffic, going over the speed limit and pass by us just in time to stop for the same red light that we do. These drivers put us all at risk to gain nothing and demonstrate their inability to plan ahead.

Observe and Plan Ahead

Drivers that observe the state of the traffic signals as they approach have time to plan and take the appropriate action. If you don't brake hard, chances are the vehicle following you will be much less likely to hit you from behind. If road conditions are poor, anticipation will allow you to stop for the red light without unintentionally sliding into the intersection.

Learn to Recognize a Stale Green Light

Anticipating a Red Light Saves Money

Slowing down gradually in anticipation of the red light will reduce wear and tear on your vehicle and your wallet. Brake maintenance is expensive and the inefficient use of fuel costs you money and all of us in air quality.

You Might Not Have To Stop

Plan it all correctly and you might not have to stop at all! Timing may mean that the traffic signal has turned green as you arrive and you can keep on rolling. 

If you feel stressed for time waiting at red lights adopting this practice will help you feel that you are in motion more often than being stopped.

Slowing Too Soon

You may be in for some criticism from other drivers who race to the red light, especially those who are hoping to take advantage of advance green turning signals. I'm not sure how they know that they are timing themselves correctly but I've found one quote on Quora that sums it up:

I’ve found it also helps to pray to the light, “Please don’t turn… Please don’t turn,” and when it doesn’t turn, I say, “Thank you.” If it does turn, I say, “Damn.” Sometimes, I don’t think the light actually cares.

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I see the opposite in Vancouver (and suburbs). Those racing - make the lights...while those that go the speed limit get almost all the lights. We need better coordination of these light systems to make driving more efficient per the speed limit. And there is no coordinated system for lights...some are very short some are very long. There is a couple places that have rush hour 'traffic waves' but they are rare.

Another problem is quick lights for side roads with 1 or 2 vehicles while major thoroughfares have to all stop to accommodate those 1 or 2 cars. There should be longer delays for the side roads with smaller traffic..but there isnt. Its all over the province wide standardization.

With todays technology and metal car detectors in the asphalt you would think there would be a better coordinated effort to make traffic flow efficiently yet despite this we live in the 2nd worst congested city in North America...and we only have 2 million people. Wait as we grow to 4 million..this place will be a nightmare.