SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Many people may have an urge to run a red light when there’s no traffic around. Not only is this illegal it can also be dangerous.
Seeing people run red lights isn’t uncommon, and officers hear almost every excuse in the book for why people do this.
“‘My brakes are acting up’, you know, is one. ‘The road conditions; I was unable to stop for the red light.’ You know, of course, your typical ones, ‘I didn’t see it’, ‘I thought it was yellow.’ You know, things like that,” Day Traffic Supervisor Sergeant Travis Olsen said.
Crashes like one at 14th Street and Phillips Avenue Wednesday show how dangerous it can be to not stop at a red light, but police officers can give you a ticket for an even smaller offense.
“If they proceed into the intersection, pass the stop bar and the light is turned red, they would be in violation,” Olsen said.
When people see a yellow light, many tend to speed up. However, Olsen says you should actually be slowing down.
“When a light turns yellow that’s basically the signal that the intersection is to be clear. So there’s turning vehicles and things like that in certain circumstances where they may actually have the right of way,” Olsen said.
Last year, the police department issued 542 citations for red light offenses. This year it has issued 408. Even with the lower numbers, Olsen wants to remind people to be defensive drivers.
“Slow down and pay attention to the signals in front of you, especially with winter coming. You know, road conditions are soon going to be slicker than we’re used to, you know, so slow down and watch the traffic signals. And like I said, when the light turns yellow, stop for that light instead of trying to gun it through it,” Olsen said.
Nationwide, more than 1,000 people died from red light crashes in 2021, with over 100,000 injuries.