How to Safely Avoid Red Light Traffic Fines

In some cities, red light cameras can be particularly aggressive, and even drivers doing the right thing can end up being flashed and fined for pulling into the intersection within the short amount of time the orange/yellow light is lit, just before the light goes red. Although the laws and road rules in many countries are different, here are a few general ways to safely and legally avoid getting red light traffic fines.


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    Scout out the red light cameras on your route. This may be as simple as looking out for the red light cameras at the intersection, or you may use technology based methods such as using a GPS to warn you of red light cameras. You may also be able to look up the location of the cameras on your local road authority website.
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    Avoid the intersections with cameras when possible. There will usually be another route to get somewhere to avoid the red light camera. However there will be locations and situations where there may be several cameras in the area and only a few available roads, so you must cross an intersection with a red light camera on it. In those cases, read on.
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    Ease off your accelerator as you approach lights, even if they're green. If you have seen the green from a long distance away and feel it may turn orange soon, it is always advisable to slow down a bit to give yourself more decision time. Equally if the light turns red, you can safely slowdown and gradually stop from a distance to avoid the situation entirely.
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    Make quick decisions. The hardest part of avoiding a red light fine is the situation where you are driving the limit nearing a green traffic light, which turns orange, prompting the split second decision weather to run the orange, or put the brakes on and stop. It is important this decision be made immediately, as any time wasted will either result in a harder and more violent stop, possibly resulting in a "rear-end type accident", or a delayed run through the orange light, by which due to wasted time, will turn red and you will be fined.
    • To avoid this, your split second decision will be either sop or run. If you choose to stop, you must stop quickly, but as gradually as possible given the distance ahead of you. If nearing a green light, slowing down can also give you a little more decision time.
    • If you choose to run, however, it is advisable to go the maximum speed limit through the red light. Any slower and you will not have time to cross the orange light in time, resulting in a fine, Any quicker, and you risk getting fined for speeding, of which some red light cameras also dual function as a speeding camera.
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    Remain calm if the camera does flash. It is not something to get too upset over, the fine should arrive in the mail in 2- 4 weeks depending on the location, time of year, country, etc. Many people at least a few times in their life do encounter the orange situation in which they ran the light and are fined; however it is not a huge offence and the fine is usually the only downside.
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    Go to court if you want to fight it. You may have to go to court depending on your situation. With multiple offences, you may have your licence suspended for a few months, to a year, to worst case licence cancellation. However, with red light fines licence cancellation is usually a rare occurrence.
    • Contesting the fine can be as simple as writing a letter to the fines authority (usually on your fine letter), or all the way up to going to court with traffic law lawyers. Many claim they can help you keep your licence; however, you will need to pay an considerably higher fine amount, in combination with the lawyer fees.
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    Know your options if you've received multiple offences. If you're at risk of losing your license because of repeat offences, in some countries and states, they may let you keep your licence based on an "option notice" agreement, provided you do not commit any road offences within a 12 - 24 month period. The downside to this is if you do commit further offences during the "option notice phase", your licence will be suspended for a much greater amount of time than if you chose to voluntarily let your licence be suspended.
    • Also in some countries and states, even if your licence has been suspended or cancelled, you may be eligible to apply for a Special Conditions Drivers Licence, allowing you to drive for only certain special conditions, such as work tasks, medical requirements, or other conditions deemed by the authorities. You must use caution to not use the licence for driving elsewhere, as the condition may be connected to your number plate, causing police to pull you over frequently and ensure you are compliant with the licence conditions.


  • Although the best methods are considered to be scouting and avoiding all your red light cameras, that doesn't give you a free pass to run every orange or red light at the camera-less intersections.
  • Running orange and especially red lights is considered extremely dangerous, and even with the lack of red light cameras, a passing police car will surely fine you if you intentionally run an orange or red light.
  • When nearing the orange light/ stop or run situation, it is important your decision to stop or run is made as soon as possible. Any delay in decision making is likely to cause a fine (slowing down but then running the orange) or cause an accident (braking too hard on the orange light)
  • In the end if you are fined, it is not the end of the world; many countries and states have different rules that will often let you keep your licence for a few red light offences. However, beyond a few offences there will be other actions you will need to take to be able to retain your licence.

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Categories: Driving Basics