Whenever we see a red light, it’s obvious: we slow down and come to a stop. But what about an amber light?
Amber lights warn you that the lights are about to change and that in itself should serve as a warning.
They usually appear for about five seconds, which gives you time to prepare to brake and stop your car.
But many drivers say – and practice – that you should accelerate to get past it.
Indeed, many drivers speed up instead of slowing down, believing that it saves you time if you don’t have to stop at one.
What should you actually do?
The dangers of running an amber light
Firstly, running the yellow light poses all sorts of risks.
Chances are that you’re already travelling close to the speed limit on the road before you hit a stop light.
If you accelerate through it, you’ll go past the speed limit.
If the Traffic Police happens to be nearby, you can be booked for speeding in that instance.
Secondly, there’s a risk of an accident waiting to happen if you bust past an amber light with a car in front.
Say you’re behind a car, with both of you approaching the stop light.
With the light turning amber, the driver in front might decide to brake and stop.
However, if you misjudge the situation and accelerate instead, that could become a very nasty rear-ender.
It’s worse if the car in front accelerates through the amber light, but for some reason decides to halt just past the stop line for whatever reason.
You might have correctly judged the driver’s initial reaction, but there’s very little chance of you reacting quickly enough to the second situation.
Thirdly, blasting past an amber light will put pedestrians at risk if someone decides to impatiently cross the road right there and then.
Slow down, and come to a complete stop
Always slow down and stop whenever you see an amber light.
This is critical in Singapore, where traffic lights don’t have long amber light durations.
A rule of thumb is to cover the brake pedal when you approach the three painted arrows on the road right before a junction.
If you’re travelling at, or below, the speed limit, that gives you time to brake should the light turn amber in those few metres.
Remember, losing a few minutes of your time at a traffic light is better than losing your licence.