For the modern man or woman, few things are as horrifying as the prospect of wasting time. Yet, according to this list of useless facts, the average person will spend 2 weeks waiting at red lights in their lifetime. It’s tempting to capitalize on this time spent waiting, but we shouldn’t forget that driving requires our full attention––whether or not we’re stopped at a light. Here’s a list of seven things you should never do at a stoplight.

Chinese Fire Drills

During a Chinese fire drill all the members of a vehicle bail out and dash laps around the car until the light changes. This is of course reckless, dangerous, and racially insensitive. Not only is running around outside of the car a dangerous distraction to other drivers, it puts you in harm’s way. Not to mention that the name of the game is tasteless. Just don’t do it. 

Watch Movies on the Overhead DVD Player

Yes, it’s tempting sometimes. When other passengers are in the back laughing away, you might think now is a good time to lean back and watch for a minute. But, let’s not forget that this is a terrible way to watch a movie and a great way to tick other drivers off when the light changes. Watching movies at red lights is simply not something we can recommend. 


The impulse to devour French fries at the first opportunity is nearly overwhelming. However, it has been posited that this all-too-common justification contributes to a staggering 80% of car accidents. The overpowering aroma of takeaway notwithstanding, putting off gratification to prevent a distracted driving accident is a worthwhile endeavor.


If you can’t get your mascara on before you’re out the door in the morning, it’s best to leave it behind. Take a leaf out of Amy Schumer’s book, and tell yourself “girl, you don’t need makeup.” The bottom line is, it’s impossible to tell when the light changes if you aren’t looking at it, so your best bet is just to look at it. Your eyebrows/eyelashes/hair can wait. 

Use Your Phone

No, no, NO. Whether or not using your phone while driving is illegal in your state (and it is in Idaho), you should know that it is extremely dangerous. Don’t allow yourself to be lulled into a false sense of security while stopped at that red light. No matter how confident you feel, the fact remains that drivers on cell phones are as impaired as drunk drivers and are up to 23 times more likely to cause a distracted driving accident than an unimpaired driver. Whatever it is, it can wait.

Make a Right-Hand Turn without Looking Left First

Everybody knows that right turns should be executed at red lights only when the coast is clear. This principle is glaringly obvious to most drivers. However, even obvious rules may be broken in cases of distracted driving. This rule, and others, are endangered by inattention to the road. So, we suggest you pay attention.

Sadly, the actions listed above contribute to thousands upon thousands of car accidents in the U.S. every year. Yet, there is some consolation in the fact that personal injury attorneys are there to help the victims of those accidents obtain reimbursement for their medical and other costs following a distracted driving accident. For those who have fallen victim to car accidents in Idaho, Hansen Injury Law offers free legal advice. Please feel free to contact us by filling out the consultation form on this page or calling us at 208-577-5300.

Photo via Matthias Ripp and Flickr

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