Thursday, April 04, 2002

LEFT-TURN ARROWS are neither universal nor pre-emptive of the usual left-turn methodology. You motorists out there do understand that, right?

I keep getting stuck in left-turn lanes behind people who stop at a green light and just sit there, awaiting their little ultra-specific pat on the head. Let's review: Absent a "left turn on arrow only" sign, the first car waiting to turn left should pull into the intersection and turn when it becomes safe. Often this means toward the end of the yellow light. If late yellow-light runners mean it isn't safe until the light turns red, so be it — wait for the red. But you don't have to wait for the arrow.

ON THE OTHER HAND, to go over a point I've probably made before, people also seem not to understand that a wait — at least a brief one — is required before turning right on red. The right-on-red law doesn't mean "Go ahead"; it means "Stop, then go if the coast is clear."

If people were responsible enough and smart enough to understand that whole coast-is-clear business, perhaps a straight-on-red or even left-on-red exception would be appropriate. (Why should I have to wait at a light when I'm the only car on the fricken road?) But people are neither smart nor responsible, and so traffic laws must make things as simple and clear-cut as practical both for them and for the often-not-so-smart-themselves cops who enforce those laws. I fear that could mean the end of right turns on red before too long.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours? Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com