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Commentary | Sept. 9, 2016

Slow down: Red means stop

By Beverly Joyner 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Within the past few weeks, I have observed several instances of drivers either ignoring or not stopping soon enough for red lights.

Running a red light is unsafe, risky and irresponsible behavior, which could result in an accident causing injuries or death. A momentary lapse in judgement could mean a lifetime of pain and suffering for the parties involved.

According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, if you are convicted of running a red light, the violation will remain on your driving record for three years. Also, demerit points will be posted to your driving record, you will have to pay a fine and your car insurance rates could increase.

The first experience occurred as I was on my way in to work one morning when I saw a driver run a red light on Langley Air Force Base. I wondered what type of excuse the driver might give for breaking the law and running the red light at such a busy intersection.

A few weeks later, while off base, I was approaching the left turn lane at another busy intersection when I noticed the left turn arrows were red. After the lights for through traffic turned red, the driver on my far left decided to make a U-turn against the red arrows. It was a dangerous decision and one that resulted in the driver getting pulled over by a police officer who was in the next lane.

At the same intersection several days later, the sounds of screeching tires caused my stress levels to rise as a motorist decided not to run the red light. Unfortunately, he was already halfway into the intersection. I watched as he put the car in reverse and backed up even though other drivers were stopped behind him.

While sitting in their cars and before driving off, people should take a few minutes to focus on driving defensively and to think about how poor decisions could result in negative consequences.

By making a conscious effort to always put safety first and obey the traffic laws, we can all benefit by becoming better drivers while helping to make the roadways safer for everyone.