Intersections are tricky. And now, with camera lights in some of those intersections, they’re even trickier. It’s good to know a little more about the workings of an intersection so that you can avoid a crash and perhaps avoid traffic violations as well. What you may not know about intersections may hurt you. So here’s a little refresher course on intersectionality (not really…it’s about intersections…I just like to use new geek words).
In any freshly painted intersection there will be a solid white line painted on the pavement by the city to separate each lane of traffic. This line will begin exactly 100 feet before the crosswalk line. Their purpose for being there is because it is against the law to change lanes 100 feet before the crosswalk of an intersection. It is also against the law to change lanes within the intersection, and up to 100 feet after the intersection ends. There is enough going on in that intersection that you should be doing nothing other than simply passing through it. Especially now with camera lights, people who have gotten those bills in the mail are likely wary of getting another, so they goose it to get through the yellow/red light. Causing even higher impact crashes. Or people stop at a yellow light. So you really have to pay attention when approaching an intersection.
Have you ever really needed to take a right turn on red (in Texas this is legal) and there is a car in front of you, not turning but blocking your lane? They’re just sitting there like a lump and you’re dying to take a right on red? So you cut through the gas station on the corner so you don’t have to wait for the light to turn green? In Texas, that is well over a $300 moving violation. But, I hear if you come to a complete stop when cutting through, and put your car in park, then look up at the gas station sign and say “Dang! That gas is pricey!” Maybe even get out of your car and act it out, waving your arms like a lunatic, then put your car in drive, you won’t get a ticket. Or, maybe you will get one for bad acting. But, really, after all of that, you maybe would have been better off to just wait behind the lump until the light turned green. And furthermore, the reason that person is not taking a right on red is likely because they have business to take care of on the opposite corner of that intersection. Maybe there’s a bank or a gas station they are going to. Even if it were legal for them to change lanes within the intersection, no one would let them over in that short distance. So cut them some slack. But, if they don’t turn into the bank or gas station on the other side of that intersection and they continue on past it, you can follow them and beat them up (nah…just kidding…that’s my own law).
When the light turns green, always look both ways to make sure someone isn’t running the red light. If there is a vehicle blocking your view, let them go first. They won’t go if they can see that someone is running the light. And, if you have a tall truck in front of you, hang back while they ease through the intersection. They have to shift gears and move slowly. If you are directly behind them, you can’t see when the overhead hanging light turns yellow and then red. And then there you are, running a red light.
Always use caution in intersections. They are said to be the most dangerous crash zones.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Intersections – Comedy Defensive Driving