Do you automatically assume that a green light means it is time to drive through the intersection? Technically, you are correct. The green light does give you the right of way. Whether that means it is time to drive or not depends on a few different factors.
The truth is that hundreds of people die every year in accidents where someone runs a red light. Many more suffer serious injuries. They spend time in the hospital, and while some recover, others are left with life-changing issues like paralysis or brain injuries.
Just because a green light gives you the right of way, unfortunately, does not mean that everyone else is going to respect that. It is crucial to check both ways before entering the intersection, regardless of the light.
This is especially true if you are the first car to enter that intersection. Many red-light runners are actually trying to speed up to make it through the yellow light. They are going to run the red a second or two after it turns. Once traffic slows, you get to a point where things are a bit safer. But for that first car, just instinctively driving out into the intersection can have serious ramifications.
Of course, if you do get hit by a red-light runner, they are the one who violated your rights and acted negligently or even recklessly. This is by no means your fault. You need to make sure you know how to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, future medical care and all other costs coming from that accident.