The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat's Road Warrior column yesterday focused on driving laws some seem to have forgotten. He seemed to cover most of the bad acts or omissions I see people do while driving. My comments to the column involved minor annoyances rather than safety related stuff.
For instance, one thing I've noticed in Eureka is that a number of people don't realize you can turn left on a red light, provided there is no sign saying otherwise. I'm referring to turning left from the left hand lane of a one way street into the left hand lane of another one way street. I see this fairly often at the intersection of Harris and H Streets in Eureka.
Heading south in the left hand lane of H Street, you often come to a red light at Harris Street, next to the old General Hospital. You don't have to wait for the light to turn green to turn left on to Harris Street there. If the left lane of Harris (a one way street at that point) is clear, you can stop, then turn. I've seen a number of drivers sit there and wait for the light to turn green. That's not necessary.
Another commenter to the Road Warrior column said I was wrong. I say I am right, although I couldn't find it mentioned in the DMV manual. One other commenter said I was right. Think of it like this: You can turn right on a red light after stopping and checking to make sure it's clear, can't you? It's no different turning left when you don't have to cross traffic to worry about.
Say I come to the north facing stop sign at Buhne and E Streets in Eureka. You come to the east facing stop sign a half a second later than I do but we're stopped about the same time. The other car facing west on Buhne is already there and starts to move through the intersection. You might as well go ahead and cross the intersection since the car opposite you is already crossing. I can't cross with him there, anyway.
I've had a number of people sit and wait for me to go first because I stopped a split second before they do. They're actually being polite, but seems to me the idea is to have drivers opposite each other cross at the same time. We don't want drivers crossing four way stops in the same exact order that they came to the stop. That causes twice the congestion if they all stopped at four different times. We want east/ west and north/south traffic crossing at the same time when possible.
Make sense? I didn't think so. I give up.
You come to the red light. As soon as the light turns green, the driver across the intersection turns left, crossing right in front of you. That driver is supposed to wait. The car going straight has the right- of- way. Why they don't is beyond me. A pretty brazen, if not downright rude, violation.
That doesn't happen at Harris and E since they installed the left turn light. I did notice it the other day at E and Henderson. What's the problem with just waiting for half a minute for the through traffic to pass?