On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!

Thu 28th Apr 2022

Waiting at the traffic lights can often make some drivers believe they are at the front row of a Formula One grid, but waiting too long when the lights have turned green is both annoying, and also potentially bad for the environment.

A new poll conducted by the RAC has discovered just how annoying some drivers find it waiting for those in front to get moving when the lights have turned green, with between one and three seconds believed to be an acceptable wait according to the majority of answers.

The motoring organisation surveyed almost 2,500 drivers and 46 per cent said that three seconds was the limit, with 35 per cent saying that four to six seconds was acceptable, which is quite a long time. Bizarrely almost one in ten said they would be prepared to wait between seven and 10 seconds, and for the two per cent of drivers who would happy wait between 11 and 15 seconds, we can only assume they don’t enjoy motor sports.

“While three seconds is obviously a very short time, anything longer than this can start to seem like an eternity when you desperately want to get through a set of traffic lights and the person in front is taking forever to get going,” said Simon Williams from the RAC.

“When you think that some lights only stay green for 15 seconds, this severely limits the number of vehicles that can get through before red comes up again, and this in turn makes jams – and potentially even air pollution – worse.”

The RAC analysis finds that the younger the driver, the more likely they are to want to get away quicker, but then at the other end of the scale there are 44 per cent of motorists who have waited more than 15 seconds for the car in front to move and have subsequently missed getting through the lights!