If you have ever thought that a yellow light gave you a choice — hit the brakes and stop or speed up and try to make it through — you’re thinking of it in a way that was never intended. The yellow light isn’t a choice. It’s a warning.
As such, you should almost always stop when you approach an intersection. The exception is if you think you cannot stop safely. For instance, maybe you’re only 50 feet from the light and you would absolutely have to slam on the brakes. You think you’d just skid into the intersection or lose control of your car. If so, you can drive through it. In the vast majority of situations, though, you simply need to stop.
The yellow light was devised so that drivers would get a bit of a buffer zone between being allowed to proceed through the intersection and having to stop. Switching right to a red light would mean that opposing cars — which would now have a green light — would start moving into the intersection, but the cars passing through may not have had time to actually stop yet. The yellow light creates that time. To stay safe, you need to use it. Do not try to speed up and see if you can make it through.
Now, you may understand exactly how the lights work. You may be dedicated to safe driving. That’s wonderful, but the unfortunate reality is that the same thing isn’t going to be true for everyone. Other drivers run yellow and red lights all the time, and you need to know how to seek out compensation if one of them injures you. If you’re hurt because of a driver who ran a light, talk to an experienced advocate today.