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What is jumping a red light?

Have you ever ridden with someone likes to “jump the light?” If this isn’t something you have ever done, the term itself may be foreign to you, but odds are you have seen it happen countless times.

Essentially, it just means stopping at a red light and then starting to drive again right before it turns green — but while it is still red. Drivers try to anticipate the change and get off of the line just slightly before that switch so that, by the time it really turns green, they’re already up to speed and moving through the intersection.

The mentality here is similar to another dangerous practice: Speeding up to run through a yellow light. The yellow light means drivers should slow down, as it’s warning them that it’s about to turn red. However, many drivers actually speed up to try to beat the red, and they may end up actually running the light when they time it poorly.

You can see where this is going. If one driver tries to jump the light and the other tries to speed up at the yellow light, they could both end up in the intersection at the same time, right during that fraction of a second where the lights are red in all directions. That can lead to a devastating crash.

If you ride with someone who does this, you’re putting yourself in serious danger. After a crash, you need to know what steps to take to seek out financial compensation for medical bills and other costs from the driver or drivers responsible.