Remember back in the day when people actually stopped at red lights and stop signs in New Jersey? Those were the days.

Sadly, it seems as if practically no one stops at red lights and stop signs these days.

And it was that change in the mentality of drivers in the Garden State that convinced me to install a camera system in my car recently.

Technology has advanced to a point where cameras are so small and inexpensive that for about $100 -- or even a lot less -- you can put a dashcam in your vehicle that will record everything. Should you ever be in an accident, those video clips could be a very good piece of evidence to have on your side.

In my case, my dashcam system continuously records out of both the front and back windows whenever I'm driving. Wherever I'm going, I have a high-definition view of whatever happened on those two sides of my car.

I almost witnessed a tragedy

A few days ago, I left work and my dashcam was rolling.

Our studios are located on Tilton Road in Northfield. If you don't know the area, Tilton Road is a very busy four-lane road that connects Egg Harbor Township and the Margate Bridge into Ventnor and Margate.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Tilton Road can be a bit crazy, especially during rush hour. The road is lined with businesses and parking lots -- cars are always turning in and out and right in front of you.

On this day, I decided to leave using our back parking lot exit. If you turn left, you'll eventually pass a park that the entire town of Northfield seems to visit while turning right takes you out to Tilton Road.

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I drove out to the intersection of Burton and Tilton and while I was waiting at the very long red light, a kid on a bike who was headed to football practice at the park behind us was waiting to cross Tilton across from me.

The light for Tilton Road turned red and luckily, this kid was really, really paying attention. He didn't have headphones on; he wasn't zoned out looking at his phone.

This kid was very attentively watching traffic and that probably saved his life.

A full two or three seconds after the light for Burton Avenue turned green, a white SUV flew through the intersection at full speed.

Red light runner on Tilton Road in Northfield NJ - Photo: Chris Coleman
Red light runner on Tilton Road in Northfield NJ - Photo: Chris Coleman

Had that kid not been paying attention and he crossed when the light changed, two or three seconds would have had him right in front of that SUV.

And it could have been horrifically tragic.

After the kid crossed, I turned and eventually caught up to that SUV. The driver had what looked like a nurse's ID or some type of medical ID hanging from her mirror. I didn't make eye contact with the driver or anything and kept going on my way.

Common sense

To that driver: a matter or two or three seconds here could have been an absolute tragedy. Was it really worth blowing through that red light? Did you even notice the kid in the bright red football jersey standing at that intersection? Do you even care?

You should be thankful that I'm not posting a picture of your license plate here.

And kudos to that kid and his parents -- that kid was paying attention and it probably saved his life.

Here's an idea: Let's all slow down just a bit and get back to common sense. When the light is red or you are approaching a stop sign, STOP!

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Buckle up... it's going to be a bumpy (and often very slow) ride.