Yellow lights: Speed up or hit the brakes?

So what do you do when you get a yellow light? Do you speed up or hit the brakes? Also have you had a close call because of another driver’s decision at a yellow light? Post a comment in this story, comment on WTOP’s Facebook Page or use WTOPTalkback on Twitter.

Kristi King,

WASHINGTON – How you react approaching a yellow light can do more than get you a ticket. In some cases, it could cost you your life.

Oregon State University researchers evaluated thousands of intersection crashes nationwide and determined hundreds of people die a year because of driver indecision at yellow lights.

“We think those crashes can be reduced with a better understanding of exactly where the dilemma zone is and how traffic lights and other technology can be adjusted to help manage it,” said OSU Assistant Professor of Transportation Engineering David Hurwitz, one of the researchers.

The researchers also believe there should be uniform laws nationwide for yellow light situations.

Laws covering driver behavior at yellow lights vary state by state.

Maryland law drivers should continue through the intersection with care if they’re too close to stop when a light turns yellow.

D.C. law states traffic shall stop before entering the nearest cross walk.

The Virginia Driver’s Manual addresses the issue specifically, saying drivers should not speed up to beat the light.

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