How to behave at traffic lights - when is it good to go?

22 January 2014:

Skipping a red robot can be deadly

Towards the end of 2013, we saw the horrific Pinetown accident that claimed 24 lives and injured 11 after a truck driver skipped a red robot. This was a brutal reminder of the importance of abiding by the rules when at an intersection.

Skipping a red robot is not only negligent; it puts you, as well as other road users, in grave danger. The justice system took a firm stance in 2009 when Sizwe Shezi, a Durban machine operator, was sentenced to 18 months in jail after he overtook three cars in the turning lane and jumped a red light. This unfortunately has not curtailed offenders, as there are still many road accidents caused by this type of transgression. 

The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) cautions all drivers to be extra vigilant when approaching traffic lights, ”Anyone who is negligent enough to skip a red robot has no regard for their and other road users’ safety and should face the full might of the law,” the AA said. 

The AA reminds you of some important things to bear in mind when at an intersection: 
  • Obey traffic signals 
  • Be careful: even if the traffic light is green and it is your turn to cross, check that the coast is clear and there are no oncoming cars
  • Do not take risks: if you realise that the traffic light will turn red by the time you reach the intersection, stop and wait for the light to change.
  • When traffic lights are not working, remember that the first vehicle to arrive has priority
  • Keep at least a 3 second following distance between you and the vehicle in front 
  • Do not go over lane markings or change lanes when crossing an intersection
  • Always be aware of pedestrians at intersection
  • And keep an eye out for taxis as they frequently stop abruptly at intersections to offload passengers

Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)
General enquiries:
011 799 1000
Media enquiries:
011 799 1180

Roadside assist | Tools & guides | Travel | Legal | Sitemap