Red light runners make for dangerous driving around the Grand Strand

Red Light Runners

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Everybody has witnessed a driver fly through a red light, maybe you've even done it.  It's a dangerous maneuver that threatens lives, so WMBF News' Paula Caruso set out to see which intersections are worst and where you should check twice before you hit the gas.

Ninth Avenue North and Kings Highway is a busy intersection in the heart of Myrtle Beach.   MBPD Captain David Knipes says this is one spot they watch for drivers running red lights.  So Paula set our cameras out to see if we could catch any red light runners, and it didn't take very long.  In less than 30 minutes, WMBF News video captured two cars flying through the intersection well after the light changed to red.  The drivers didn't even touch their brakes.

In Myrtle Beach alone, police wrote more than 250 tickets in 2012 for drivers running red lights.   Highway patrol troopers wrote more than 570 tickets for disregarding a traffic signal to drivers in Horry County in 2012.  Those tickets could be for going through a red light, or a stop sign.

Carolina Forest driver Peter Strother says the main roads around town are also bad for red light runners.

"501 is a big one, but anywhere on the 17 bypass is bad, too," Strother says.

WMBF News picked locations around the Grand Strand that police and our viewers said were some of the worst spots for red light runners.  Cameras rolled on Kings Highway, the 17 Bypass and Highways 544 and 501.

It's been a few years, but Adrienne Lowery still remembers exactly what happened when she was in an accident at Palmetto Pointe Boulevard and 17 Bypass.

"Right about when I got to the light, he starts coming out, and I'm like 'he's not going to pull out,'" Lowery remembers, "And he pulled right out, and I hit him.  Didn't even have time to stop, going about 50, [I] hit him, [it] happened so fast [the] guy behind me hit him again."

Lowery says the accident, during the after-work rush hour, totaled all three cars, but luckily, no one was seriously hurt.

"I think he was trying to beat us, trying to get home," Lowery says.

In 2012, there were two people killed, and more than 200 hurt in accidents where drivers ignored traffic signals in Horry County.

Myrtle Beach police say they focus on every intersection around the heart of the city.  WMBF News viewers agree those are bad, but say a big problem area is Highway 501 in Carolina Forest.

"There's so much traffic going through there, in and out of town," says Amber Aranda, who lives in Carolina Forest but works in Myrtle Beach. "And a lot of distractions, I always see people looking down, then you look up and it's fender benders."

Jeremiah Cline is new to the area, but already thinks one intersection is worse than others.

"The one right by Tanger Outlet Center, that's a bad one," Cline says. "Just because you sit at the light so long and people rush to get through it."

One person said drivers are constantly running the red onto Highway 501 because traffic gets so backed up on Carolina Forest Boulevard, people pull into the intersection then complete their turn on red.

"I've definitely seen people run red lights left and right," Aranda says about the intersection. "Traffic can't even go because this traffic is in the way of waiting to turn."

WMBF News also set cameras up at the Highway 544 and Sayebrook Parkway intersection and caught several drivers flying through the red light.  In a short amount of time, we recorded three drivers drive through on a red light, the last one more than three seconds after the light had changed.

"You always have to be aware of what people around you are doing," Cline says.

Lowery says there was nothing she could do to prevent her accident at Palmetto Pointe Boulevard and the Bypass, but she can't believe the intersection is still as bad today as it was a few years ago.

"It's such a bad, any angle you're at, no matter if you're north or south, east or west, it's bad all the way  around.  I always think about it," she says.

Police say they do monitor red light runners, just like they would any other traffic issue, such as DUI enforcement.  When approaching an intersection, you should always be on the lookout for red light runners, but MBPD says these intersections are worst:

-          Highway 501 & Seaboard

-          Highway 501 & Grissom

-          17 Bypass & 21st, 29th, 38th Avenues

-          17 Bypass & Mr. Joe White

-          Kings Highway & Mr. Joe White

-          9th Avenue North & Kings Highway

WMBF News viewers weighed in on the worst intersections for red light runners in the Grand Strand, and here are the top choices:

-          Glenns Bay & 17 Bypass

-          Palmetto Pointe Blvd & 17 Bypass

-          Highway 501 & Carolina Forest Blvd.

-          Highway 544 & Kings Highway

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