Q: How can I tell when I’m at the “Point of No Return” While Driving?
This is a difficult question in which to give a straight forward answer.
The point of no return when driving refers to the point at which you keep going when the light goes yellow. This means you are at the point where it is either impossible to stop behind the stopping line based on speed or conditions, or where it would be unsafe to stop based on the vehicle following behind you. Keep in mind, it is impossible for a large truck carrying a load to stop in the same distance that you can in a small car. So if there’s a large truck following too closely, make the right decision – that may be to continue once the light is yellow.
Just a reminder, that a yellow light technically means “Stop” unless it is not safe or possible to stop.
Usually if I’m driving and the light goes yellow, and I still have time to think, “Hmm, I wonder if I have time to stop or not,” then that means YES, I can stop. If I’m driving and I don’t even have time to even think, then I’m already past that point.
If you are past the point of no return, just continue at the same speed. You aren’t doing anything wrong, so don’t make it look like you are by drawing attention to yourself.
Consider your speed and the vehicle behind you well before an intersection that you know has a stale traffic light (a green light that you think might go yellow soon), so you’re prepared ahead of time. If you think the light may be stale, hover your right foot above the brake pedal so you can save that extra time. If it does go yellow, your foot will be ready.
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