Monday, January 4, 2010

See the Light...

There seems to be a bit of confusion as to the proper course of action to take when your light turns green and there is still a car in the intersection.

I'm not referring to the jackass who started across and didn't have room to clear the intersection, and is now stuck in the middle directly in front of you. I'm referring to the driver who entered the intersection on a yellow light which then turned red, allowing your light to turn green while the other car was still transiting the intersection.

The proper course of action is not to start driving right into the path of that vehicle. Nor is honking your horn for five solid seconds the right thing to do. Actually, by law you are required to yield to any vehicle lawfully entering the intersection before your light turned green.

Don't believe me?

Read this:

21451.  (a) A driver facing a circular green signal
shall proceed straight through or turn right or left
or make a U-turn unless a sign prohibits a U-turn.
Any driver, including one turning, shall yield the
right-of-way to other traffic and to pedestrians
lawfully within
the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk.
But of course nobody wants to abide by that, because they think they can just start rolling when the light turns green...


Melissa said...

Wow, the lights change that fast where you are? I've never seen a light where a car legally entering the intersection (even on an 'orange' light) would not have time to clear the intersection before the opposite light turned green. There's always a gap of two or three seconds, or more for bigger roads. Unless I'm misunderstanding you, it seems like that would be a problem with the intersection design. Not that it excuses honking like a moron!

There are certainly enough people who run red lights to make me pause and check before entering the intersection on a green anyway.

joe said...

I've got to disagree on this one. The section you quoted states "lawfully within the intersection." Its referring to both the pedestrians and motorists.

As you already know CVC 22526 states:
" (a) Notwithstanding any official traffic control signal indication to proceed, a driver of a vehicle shall not enter an intersection or marked crosswalk unless there is sufficient space on the other side of the intersection or marked crosswalk to accommodate the vehicle driven without obstructing the through passage of vehicles from either side."

There's also 22500:
" No person shall stop, park, or leave standing any vehicle whether attended or unattended, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a peace officer or official traffic control device, in any of the following places:

(a) Within an intersection, except adjacent to curbs as may be permitted by local ordinance."

The driver with the light has the right of way. That's obviously doesn't give him the right to abandon due care and hit the offender but it wouldn't subject him to a legitimate violation either.

I agree that the horn is unnessary and a violation but you gotta give the guy some grief for being and idiot, right?

*Goddess* said...

Officer S, you are just no fun at all:)

The Six said...

Heh heh. I just loooove writing grid lock tickets. The abuse level seems to get cranked up to nuclear in two seconds flat. I've had drivers hang out their window so they could get the festivities started before I even reached their car. This seems to be an issue virtually no one understands and everyone gets instantly pissed about.
I've used this warning many times. "Your horn is an emergency warning device, not a cattle prod. Please don't use it as such." Much hilarity ensues.

Front Porch Society said...

That's why I always wait to look in all directions before proceeding after the light turns green. There are always those morons out there who like to drive through red lights.

Mad Jack said...

It isn't the driver who is making a left in front of me and who did so on a yellow light. It's the next three or four drivers that tailgate the first one through the intersection because they didn't feel like waiting. Their big hurry was bigger and more important than everyone else sitting dead still at a green light, waiting for the intersection to clear of scofflaws.

These three or four drivers are individually and directly responsible for my increase in blood pressure and subsequent loss of my customary sunny good humor.

Would you bust a few of these people and write about it? Please?

Marjorie said...

One of the things that always stuck in my mind from when I frst learned to drive was something my driving instructor told me about green lights:
"A green light doesn't mean 'go, it's your right of way', it means 'goif it is safe to do so'"
IIRC the Highway Code (here in the UK) says you may only go when the light is green *and* there is room for you to clear the junction safely...