Confused.com is calling for a re-think on traffic lights in order to reduce congestion after its research found motorists spend, on average, 48.5 hours a year stationary at traffic lights.
This is supported by an Institute of Economic Affairs report which puts the cost of delays caused by traffic controls at £16 billion a year. It also states that four in five (80%) traffic lights in the UK could be removed to boost the economy and road safety.
The Confused.com research found that of the British motorists who drive on a daily basis, the average time spent waiting at red lights is eight minutes – accounting for nearly a fifth (18%) of the average time spent in a car on a daily basis. Some British drivers (15%) say they spend 11-15 minutes waiting at red lights on a daily basis.
Drivers are having to contend with more sets of traffic lights than ever before. New FOI data obtained by Confused.com shows that British drivers face more than 33,800 traffic light systems on roads across the country – a 23% increase since 2013 - with London having the most traffic light systems in place (6,297).
Nearly three in 10 people (29%) said they have driven through a red light and nearly a third of these (32%) did so deliberately. Reasons for driving through a red light vary with a third (33%) saying they were running late and a similar number claiming they didn’t see the light turn red (32%). A fifth (20%) say they deliberately drove through a red light because they were angry at the light for turning red.
Worryingly, of those drivers who have deliberately driven through a red light, one in 15 (7%) say they have had an accident, with one in 20 (5%) saying they collided with a pedestrian. And if it’s not drivers themselves causing accidents, other motorists running red lights are causing accidents. Nearly one in five (18%) said that another car driving through a red light almost crashed into them.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, said: “Red lights are a frustration for many drivers on the road but they are a necessity to keep traffic moving in a timely and orderly fashion. On some days, it can seem these lights are against you and it can feel like the wait is longer than normal.
“With motorists waiting an average of eight minutes a day at traffic lights, this can add up over a year. But the risk of driving through a red light can outweigh the benefits. Rushing through a red light can cause problems for drivers and pedestrians alike. And getting caught, and incurring points, can cause problems for your insurance.
“Should drivers be caught and issued with points for driving through a red light, or any driving misdemeanour, they need to inform their insurer. If they don’t, their policy could be deemed void or they may have to back pay their policy.”