April 19, 2024
Drivers can, where it's allowed, turn right on a red light, but is it legal in other situations if there is no other traffic around?

Q: Regarding the recent comment from a reader about artificial intelligence in traffic lights improving commutes and reduce wait times, I am in the habit of stopping at red lights and if there is no reason for the light to be red (no traffic in any direction, or all cross traffic has already gone through the intersection and is happily speeding away), I proceed through the red light. I don’t see the point of waiting. If there is any traffic or the threat of traffic, or if smart lights are installed (the signal switches quickly), then I wait.

Is it really illegal to do this? I seem to recall that after stopping if there is no traffic, you were allowed to proceed through a red light.

James H., San Jose

A: It is illegal to drive through a red light. It is legal to turn right after stopping at a red light, unless there is a sign there that says a right turn after red is not allowed at that intersection.

Q: I suspect the reason nobody obeys the no right turn on red sign at Mathilda is because it’s not visible from the limit line. It’s actually about 10 yards before the intersection and there are no red arrows and no sign in the intersection saying that the turn is not allowed.

The problem here is clearly a lack of signage.

Jim, San Jose

A: I’ll forward your comment to the city so they can take a look at the signage here.

Q: A recent column mentioned the advantages of traffic roundabouts instead of stoplights and stop signs. There is a suburb of Indianapolis, Carmel, that has replaced just about all its stoplights and stop signs with oblongabouts, rather than roundabouts. From what I have read, traffic accidents and pedestrian deaths, especially, have plummeted greatly here. As I understand it, about the only stop signs and lights left are near schools. Perhaps some of our local municipalities can learn from Carmel’s experiences.

Dick Francis, Cupertino

A: Thanks for sharing this example.

Caltrans paving rehabilitation work continues

Caltrans repair work began Monday along Highways 84 and 35 near Woodside. Work is being done from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, with one-way traffic control in effect while the work is being done. Crews are grinding and paving Highway 84 between Old La Honda Road and Portola Road near Alpine Road.

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Work is to be completed in September, 2023.

Caltrans said that they understand that traffic control may impact daily commutes for residents who live near Woodside and Portola Valley, and crews will assist them with access, as needed.

For the latest highway conditions, Quickmap: hite://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/

Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at [email protected].

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