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Whether you are learner driver or an experienced motorist, you can email any driving-related question to info@wycombedrivingschool.co.uk and you will receive a personal response from Wycombe Driving School boss Audrey Wixon, pictured. The best questions and answers will be published on this website anonymously.

Audrey is a DSA ADI; DIAmond, IAM and RoSPA Gold Advanced Driver; Fleet Trainer; Observer for Institute of Advanced Motorists; & National Standard cycling instructor

Audrey Wixon - manager of Wycombe Driving School
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How to beat the traffic lights blues

Q: I know you're supposed to stop when traffic lights are amber but so many people go through on amber, it almost seems normal. Do you have any tips regarding traffic lights because they always seem to catch me out?

traffic lights in High Wycombe A: You are quite right, amber does mean stop – unless it would be dangerous to do so. In other words, if you felt that braking to stop at the line would cause an accident then you should continue on amber.

Unfortunately, it seems that many people around here are prepared to risk driving through amber traffic lights when it’s not necessary – and sometimes red ones too! This is perhaps due to the proliferation of traffic lights in Wycombe and the level of congestion at some junctions.

But because there are so many ‘amber gamblers’ around, it is very important that you always check it is safe to enter traffic light-controlled junctions and never just sail blindly through when your lights are green.

Whenever you are approaching a set of traffic lights, the first thing you should do is assess the risk behind, then try to predict what colour the lights will be when you get there.

Let’s say you are approaching a green traffic light and when you check your mirror you can see that someone is following you too closely. The light was green when you first saw it so you have no idea how long it has been (dangerously) green. It could change to amber at any moment. You will need to slow down, braking early and gently to reduce the risk of being hit from behind.

By showing your brake lights early but without a sudden loss of speed you will allow the driver behind plenty of time to respond. Brake lights are great at producing a reaction in following traffic. In that situation thinking ahead allowed you to take control of your own safety.

Thinking ahead can also help you avoid the stress of having to wait at traffic lights. For example, when approaching a red light, come off the gas as soon as you have enough momentum to make it to the junction. This will not only save on fuel but create some time in which the lights might change in your favour. And you might even get a nerdy satisfaction out of beating the lights more often!

If you do have to wait, make sure you check your side mirrors as well as you rear view mirror before moving off. This is because cyclists and motorcyclists might filter up the sides of the queue while you are stationary. If you move off as they are passing you, you may distract them or cause them problems if there are obstacles such as traffic light islands nearby.
Audrey Wixon
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Wycombe Driving School - for driving lessons in High Wycombe and surrounding areas - including Amersham, Beaconsfield, Marlow, Hazlemere, Stokenchurch and Princes Risborough. We offer successful, structured driving lessons, providing free theory test software and lesson handouts. Male and female driving instructors are available, providing both manual and automatic driving lessons.