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Memorial Day could be dangerous on the road for Virginia drivers

Millions of people around the country, many of them in Virginia, will be hitting the road this weekend to celebrate the Memorial Day holiday. With all that activity, however, lies some danger. Many people will be trying to get to a relative's house for a party or trying to avoid a traffic backup and as a result run a red light.

While people running red lights happens every day, a new study released this week shows that the number of people who run red lights goes up 27 percent over Memorial Day weekend when compared with the average non-holiday weekend. This inevitably leads to a higher chance of a car accident, more personal injury claims and more visits to hospital emergency rooms.

According to the group that conducted the study, Memorial Day weekend is one of the most dangerous of the year in terms of road safety. The group surveyed 18 states, but said if the results were applied to all states, there would be a red-light violation in the country 1.2 times every second.

One method that some communities have adopted to deter people from running red lights is to install cameras to record when drivers fail to stop. But the leader of the group that conducted the study said the only way to reduce red-light running is to do away with intersections altogether.

While replacing intersections with roundabouts might happen in a few places, it is not practical to do it everywhere. But at least in the short term, drivers can stay safer by expecting other drivers to drive aggressively and act accordingly.

Source: USA Today, "Memorial Day a peak time for running red lights, study says," Charisse Jones, May 23, 2012

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