Stoplights can be a nuisance, especially when you are in a hurry or late for work. They do, however serve quite a few purposes. One of the main reasons is controlling traffic flow. Another, and personally for me, the most important is safety of drivers and passengers.
Unfortunately as our world has become faster paced and in a hurry people are not exactly paying attention to stop lights. Every where you look, people (and yes I have been guilty of it from time to time) have raced the light hoping to beat the light before it turns from yellow to red.
The other day my wife and I had taken our grandchildren into town to run some errands. As we headed back home we were stopped at a stoplight, coming from a side street turning onto a major highway (we were second in line, this plays a part later in the story). I am not a huge fan of this stoplight because motorists routinely run the red light that are on the highway, either trying to beat the light or just because they are not paying attention to the light. A few years ago at this light, (we were once again coming off the side street) the light had just turned green and I started to pull into the intersection. At that moment two vehicles coming from the south ran through the intersection.
Now, the amazing thing here is that a city police officer was stopped at the light going south. He made no movements to go after these motorists. Why? He was too busy eating a hamburger. I kid you not.
Anyways back to the the car ride aforementioned. The light had turned green and the van ahead of us went through the intersection and turned north. We were next so I headed into the intersection. I looked in the south bound lanes and I saw a rather large pickup truck barreling towards the intersection. I continued watching it expecting it to stop but it was not even slowing down. I had a split second decision to either slam on the breaks or hit the gas, overshoot my lane and just hope there was not a car in the far lane. I hit the gas and the truck just barely missed us.
There is a potentially easy solution to the mess at the stoplight. Parts of Nebraska (specifically Lincoln) have started putting warning flashing lights when the lights are about to turn red and they stay flashing until the lights turn green. Whether it would work at this intersection is an unknown.
Just a word to the wise while you are driving. Pay attention to your surroundings and especially to the lights, you never know who or what may be coming into your path.