So there I had been, in the back of a taxi, running a few minutes late for work and willing the driver, who’d been a little slow with picking up speed at traffic lights, to undergo on amber.
I knew that if he didn’t we’d be stuck at the busy cross junction for many minutes more while we waited for that traffic light sequence to start out all over again.
Fortunately for me, the motorist propelled his car onwards, driving through on amber and getting me to work two minutes late instead of five.
But wait – which had been wrong of me. To wish the operator to go through on amber, I am talking about. As we all know – or should we, because it’s illegal to pass through an amber traffic light?
Being an amber-gambler
Gemma Stanbury, head of car insurance at Confused.com, thinks that numerous drivers don’t care that it’s illegal to drive through an amber traffic light.
And she puts the number of amber-gamblers down to city drivers’ impatience.
I have lived in Cardiff for 13 years now and that i honestly believed amber meant stop.
If I’m wrong because in Cardiff everyone goes through an amber light – actually, they barely stop for any red, But I’ve been wondering.
City drivers more likely to be amber-gamblers?
But in south Devon, where I’m originally from, it’s a different story. Drivers not merely stop at amber lights, they’re polite as well – another thing I feel is lacking among city drivers.
I do believe it’s a major city thing: there’s so much congestion but everyone’s getting and rushing nowhere fast so it seems to be generally accepted to race through on amber.
I now find myself racing through amber lights too. That is But what’s worse.
I think people need to remember that if you’re running late, you should have left your house earlier.
Gemma carries a point, I should have left for work earlier – not willed my taxi driver to undergo on amber.
Traffic light law
But motoring lawyer Jeanette Miller, of Geoffrey Miller Solicitors, reckons it’s not just drivers’ impatience that’s to blame – many simply don’t know the law.
At traffic lights red means amber, stop and red together mean stop, and amber alone means stop, as explained on page 119 of this Department for Transport Know your Traffic Signs booklet.
Miller adds: The position in law is that dealing with on amber is failing to comply with the traffic signal so it is no defence to state it wasn’t yet red.
This really is outlined within the Road Traffic Act, section 36, and also the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions, regulations 10 and 36.
Also, it is covered in rule 175 of the Highway Code which states:
‘You MUST stop behind the white ‘Stop’ line across your side of the road unless the light is green. If you have already crossed the stop line or are so close to it that to stop may cause a collision.?, if the amber light appears you may continue only?
90% unaware amber means stop
However, I would claim that around 90% of drivers aren’t aware that amber means stop as we often get people calling us and saying I didn’t go through on red, I underwent on amber.
I don’t think we’ve ever defended such a case as there’s just no defence.
Miller has a point about drivers simply not being aware that amber means stop – as failing to adhere to a traffic signal is definitely the third most common motoring conviction.
Ignoring traffic light third most common motoring conviction
We looked at customers who obtained a car insurance quote from Confused.com between December and October 2012, with motoring convictions during the last five years before the date of your quote.
Along with a TS10 conviction – neglecting to comply with a traffic signal – was the third most frequent motoring offence, after speeding and using a mobile phone on the wheel.
What’s more, it could lead to a 24% increase in your vehicle insurance premium.
So, so you know – amber means stop. Spread the word.