Amber Means Stop (except when it doesn’t)


QUESTION: When you see a traffic light turn from green to amber do you:
(a) Put your foot down and hope you beat the red light (and hope that if you don’t beat it there’s no camera)
(b) Stop if it is safe to do so but otherwise continue
(c) Tremble with indecision and end up six feet over the line before screeching to a halt.

(Oh – when selecting your answer, do make the assumption that you’re first in the queue. It may sound obvious, but I just read a discussion where the second car in the queue ran into the first because the driver simply assumed the first car would carry on through the amber light. What he should have done (IMHO) was to assume precisely the opposite. But that’s another debate.)

I don’t mind telling you that I’m firmly in the (b) camp. Not that I’m never guilty of the (a) school of thought (and driving), but I will argue vehemently that approach (a) is plain wrong and that the law is clear – Amber Means Stop (unless to pull up suddenly would cause an accident or a sudden drop in the stock market, etc.). It does not mean “go for it – you’ll get away with it”.

It’s been suggested to me that arguments of “common sense” should apply, e.g. it’s late, not much traffic, no danger from continuing, and so forth. Be that as it may, IT’S ILLEGAL. As is driving over the speed limit. Which I also do from time to time. But that’s not because I’m suggesting that exceeding the speed limit is right. You might call me a hypocrite, and that might be fair comment, but that is not what is under scrutiny here. The question is of right and wrong, not compliance.

So – is it (a), (b) or (c)? I know what I think – am I right? If not, why not?


Author: mark1408

Over 50 years' experience of being me. Working in the world of IT and writing in the hope of making you think, laugh or at least read more of my stuff.

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