March 02, 2013

Running Through Reds

Knock on wood, I haven't gotten anything but parking tickets since I've moved to LA.

But I've deserved plenty of others.

Besides speeding down Miracle Mile, around the bends of Beverly Boulevard through Hancock Park, along the curve of Cahuenga past Mulholland Drive to Barham, I've run a few red lights.

And despite the flash of a traffic camera which is no longer enforced in the City of Los Angeles, I haven't gotten caught.


There's a moment when you're heading towards an intersection and the light turns yellow that you have to decide between three options: slow down to a stop, hold steady, or gun it.

There are many deciding factors you must consider:
the duration of the light
your current speed
your potential speed
the duration required to reach potential speed
the presence of pedestrians
the queue of cars waiting to turn left in front of you
the potential of getting caught

At least in LA, it seems commonplace - almost expected - that one or more, up to several cars will continue to turn left through a red light at a busy intersection, justified perhaps by the time spent waiting for their opportunity to turn.

But if you're not turning, and just going straight through an intersection, there is rarely a wait. You're just going. And, of course, as science dictates, you just want to keep going.

But it's not always best to press the pedal down, to risk oncoming traffic from opposing directions, hitting someone or getting hit. What is so important on the other side of that light, besides more road, more lights, more cars, more traffic?

Sometimes, however, you're so close to the light and going so fast, it doesn't seem possible to stop in time, inside the white line. You could stop, but who knows where you'd land?


There are those who always accelerate.

There are those who always stop.

I am faced with the decision every single time, and what I decide changes every single time. Sometimes I'd rather sit in my car at a red light and check my phone, put on my eyeliner, tweeze my eyebrows.

I have so much to do.

And I can't do it all if I'm just driving the whole time.

But sometimes, I just want to keep on moving.

Related Post:
Running on Empty

To Like Avoiding Regret on Facebook, click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment