The green light is one of the main signals on the road that tends to give people a false sense of security. When you see it turn green in front of your car, you may just drive out into the intersection without looking to the left or the right. That light is designed to protect you from cross-traffic, after all, so it feels safe to proceed.

It should be, in theory, but you also have to remember that the opposite red light is just that: a light. It doesn’t actually stop traffic at all. There are no barriers to prevent a texting driver from flying through a light they didn’t see turn red. You feel safe, but you’re only as safe as those drivers allow you to be. If someone runs the light, you could get involved in an accident you have no way to avoid.

How often does this happen? It’s impossible to say for certain because many incidents happen without accidents or anyone to record them. However, some studies have suggested that certain intersections see just over 3 red-light runners per hour, or one every 20 minutes.

To track the statistics, you can look at accidents leading to injury or death. In 2018, for example, 139,000 people got injured after drivers ran red lights, and 846 people lost their lives. Some of them were the red-light runners themselves, of course, but others were pedestrians, cyclists and passengers or drivers in other cars.

As you can see, you face serious risks at every intersection. It’s important that you know how to seek compensation for your injuries after a crash.