There are some long stoplights in San Angelo. Even though our commute times are generally less than many other cities in Texas, it seems like when you hit one, you hit them all.

It can be frustrating, especially when you're running late. I'm not proud of it, but I've sometimes cut through the corner of a parking lot to avoid a red light. I am lucky. I am fortunate because I haven't been caught.

Texas Transportation Code is clear. Section 545.423 - Crossing Property states:

 (a) a driveway, parking lot, or business or residential entrance without stopping the vehicle.
(b) An operator may not cross or drive in or on a sidewalk, driveway, parking lot, or business or residential entrance at an intersection to turn right or left from one highway to another highway.

Tex. Transp. Code § 545.423

Tex. Transp. Code § 545.423

According to Sergeant Woodward with the Texas Department of Public Safety in an interview with "Ask 2 Houston," officers will write tickets. You can expect to pay up to a $200 fine if you get caught.

What's the big deal?

This type of behavior is often called "rat running." It is illegal because of the pedestrian traffic often present in parking lots. Parking lots are full of other hidden dangers for drivers. These include grocery carts and hitting inanimate objects, like parking barriers.

Legally, the benefits of saving a few minutes, or what seems like an eternity, on some of the San Angelo stoplights do not outweigh the risks. It can cost you dearly, not just in fines but in damages, if your haste causes an injury or damage to your vehicle.

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