A recent article in The New York Times warned readers about speeding, saying police citations can increase your insurance payments by double digits.
The story included the following nonsense: “So you might want to slow down or even stop when the traffic light turns yellow, instead of accelerating and trying to get through before it turns red.”
Red light cameras encourage motorists to accelerate through yellow lights.
Before the advent of red light cameras, I used to slow down when traffic lights turned yellow. If I were able to bring my full-sized pickup to a stop, I did. If I couldn’t, then I rolled through the tail end of the yellow light or maybe even the beginning of the red light.
I considered that the safe way to drive.
Now, when I see a yellow light, I punch my accelerator. Why? Because it’s impossible to force a pickup or any other heavy vehicle to slow down from 40 or 50 mph to a dead stop in just a few seconds, without having to stand on the brakes and come to a screeching halt.
Some cities, such as Dallas and Lubbock, have even relied on shorter yellow lights to make sure they catch more motorists and increase profits.
I’m not going to ruin my brakes by sliding to a three-second stop at every intersection just to please some money-grubbers who want to exploit its citizenry and pad our city coffers. So I punch the accelerator with everything I’ve got to get through an intersection before the camera snaps a picture.
Is this safe driving? Uh, no. I liked my old way of driving better.
But myself and other drivers are doing this now in reaction to arbitrary cameras that allow no room for grace — just a $75 fine, no exceptions, no human being to listen, no nothing except a payment demand.