Can I make it through before the traffic light turns red?

It’s a decision that we all face just about every day we drive. We’re approaching an intersection with a traffic signal, going the appropriate speed (or close enough) and the light changes from green to yellow. In an instant, our brain goes through a series of complex calculations. “Can I make it through before it turns red?”, “If I slow down to stop, will that dude behind me respond in kind?”, “I wonder if there’s a red-light camera”, “How much will a ticket cost me?”

We were all taught “green go, yellow slow, red stop, ” but somehow our brains just don’t work that way. Adding to the problem is the fact that if you DO stop, it may be one of those seemingly eternal red lights Florida is famous for. If you don’t stop, how long will the signal be yellow? All traffic lights somehow don’t seem to be created equal. More on that later.

Of course, if you make it before it turns red you give yourself a little mental pat on the back and continue with your travels. If the light does change you’ll probably justify it by saying it was just a little pink, not actually red. That camera or nearby officer of the law may see it differently, however, and a citation may ensue.

Florida can be an interesting state to drive in. We have lots of tourists driving rental cars they may not be familiar with on roads that are unknown to them. We have plenty of retirees who drive “purposefully.” We have people who have relocated here from states where driving styles range from passive to aggressive. Some seem to ignore their turn signals and red lights, others will slam on their brakes to avoid the possibility of being caught by a camera. So what’s a driver to do?

It starts by knowing a few things about running red lights in Florida. First of all, you’ll want to avoid it. It’s illegal and potentially costly and dangerous. But there’s more to the story.

The Definition of Running a Red Light

Running a red light is generally described as when the front end of your vehicle has passed the crosswalk or stop line when the light is red. A “rolling” right turn on red is considered a red light violation. If your front end has passed by a crosswalk or stop line before the light turns red it is not considered a red light violation. An officer may have a different opinion on what occurred, however, and unfortunately, they have a decided advantage in a courtroom. Red light cameras are difficult to disprove, however, there have been cases where it has been shown yellow lights have been unfairly timed to change quicker, producing more revenue.

What About Those Red Light Cameras?

These money-generating devices are a staple in communities across Florida and the courts have made them difficult to fight. Since they don’t carry the penalty of points, many decide to just pay them. Fighting them may depend on your personal situation.

The Costs of Running a Red Light

If you get ticketed by an officer in Florida it will set you back a cool $125. While that’s not bad for a moving violation in the Sunshine State, you may have other plans for that cash. Oh, you’ll also be tagged with three points on your driving record. If you get a little unpleasant surprise in the mail with a photo of your car going through a red light it will cost you about $160. There are no points dissociated with a red light camera citation though. The city and red light camera company are just happy to split your cash.

Can I Fight a Red Light Ticket in Florida?

Sure, and there are some good reasons to fight a red-light ticket in Florida. The reasons may include:

  • The ticketing officer was not in a position to see the light change
  • A yellow light that is timed too quickly
  • The line of vision to see the light was obstructed
  • Not running the red light may have caused harm to you or others

Fighting a ticket issued by a red-light camera has been made difficult in Florida. If a ticket, however, with points will impact your auto insurance rates and puts you close to, or over, the point limit for license suspension, it can be worthwhile to challenge a red light ticket.

It is estimated communities across the State of Florida take in over $100 million annually from red light camera tickets alone. This in spite of the fact that communities still claim they are not intended to generate revenue but to promote safety. We want to make sure all citations are issued fairly, legally and with reasonable penalties. We will fight to keep you from getting points, going to traffic school or appearing in court.

If you’ve received a traffic ticket, you don’t have to accept it. You can fight it instead. We’ll help you do just that, at

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