An education campaign directed at Spokane County’s red-light runners isn’t enough, some readers say. We need one for green-light runners, too.
“The campaign should encourage defensive driving,” says H.A. Krauss of Spokane. “When the light turns green, don’t jack-rabbit start your car. Instead, look both ways to make sure no one is running the light.”
“The accidents don’t come from the people running the red lights,” says Bob Lehman of Spokane, “but rather from the people who launch ahead as soon as their light is green without checking their traffic.”
Lehman proposes traffic signals that briefly are red in all directions.
He also says short yellow lights give Spokane motorists two choices: “Stomp on the brakes, spilling their espresso and briefcases off the seats, or continue on and have a red light during the last half of the intersection.”
Timothy D. Ford of Spokane has driving experience throughout the country. “There are two types of drivers in Spokane,” he says. “Those who anticipate the short yellow and immediately slow down and those who anticipate the short yellow and immediately speed up.”
Claudia Drake of Cheney also has lived in many places and says, “I think we could solve the problem by making the yellow a couple of seconds longer and advertise that.”
Spokane city traffic engineer Don Ramsey says yellow-light timing here follows national standards. He also says four-way red lights reduce accidents only about six months - until drivers get wise to them.
The smartest move, says Richard T. Brown of Spokane, is simple: “Make it illegal to be in the intersection on a yellow light. … If a car then is in the intersection when the light turns red, the driver must have failed to stop when ‘… facing a steady circular yellow signal …”’
Sue Dahl of Spokane offers this rule: “The amber light means stop. The red light means wait.”
Francis E. Kent of Four Lakes says the problem is overblown because observers don’t realize that cars legally may be in an intersection as long as they didn’t enter it on red.
“Inoculating the general public against the Chicken Little disease may help get an accurate assessment of violations,” he says.
“I think that most of us do think that you have to have cleared the intersection when the light turns red,” says Beverly Berger of Spokane, “and I think that’s what the law should be changed to - and enforced.”
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