Over the past weeks of being able to provide the public with various traffic safety related information, I have received emails from folks requesting specific information that my be useful or informative to others.
The following are their specific inquires and my responses;
I have two topics for your column that Redding drivers need education on: 1] the difference between a “YIELD” sign and a merging traffic sign, and 2] what a limit line [displaced from a crosswalk] means. Okay, three topics: 3] the anti-gridlock law(s).
As a general rule, if the “YIELD” sign is facing you, then you are required to yield to traffic that is crossing or approaching your position. A sign indicating that traffic is merging into your lane is to make you aware of the merging traffic, but generally you have the right-of-way, and they (the merging traffic) are required to yield to you.
A “limit line” is a solid white line not less than 12 or more than 24 inches wide, extending across a roadway or any portion thereof to indicate the point at which traffic is required to stop in compliance with legal requirements. Limit lines are generally located as you approach an intersection or controlled stopping area.
With regard to your third topic, 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.
A driver of a vehicle which is making a turn at an intersection who is facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal shall not enter the 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. I realized there are a lot of shall and shall-not when it comes to vehicle code sections, but it does make it easier when an officer has to take enforcement action. It comes down to a simple matter of did the driver do it or not. There are generally explanations from the driver as to why they did what they did, and that is why the officer is given the authority to determine if a citation is warranted or a verbal warning would be most appropriate.
In a future column, would you please discuss the rules regarding the use of two-way left-turn lanes on city streets.
A vehicle shall not be driven in a designated two-way left-turn lane except when preparing for or making a left turn from or into a highway or when preparing for or making a U-turn when otherwise permitted by law, and shall not be driven in that lane for more than 200 feet while preparing for and making the turn or while preparing to merge into the adjacent lanes of travel. A left turn or U-turn shall not be made from any other lane where a two-way left-turn lane has been designated.
A common misunderstanding with these left-turn lanes is when drivers utilize them to get to a designated left turn pocket at an intersection and are actually crossing over a set of double yellow lines, which is unlawful. It is important for drivers to understand that traffic traveling in both directions has the opportunity to use this lane and that it is to be used for a specific purpose as stated earlier.
As always my intention is to provide useful information to the public and to clear up any confusion or misunderstandings. Please remember that law enforcement does not write the laws; we enforce the laws. Whether you agree or disagree with any specific law is your right as a citizen, but it is your responsibility to comply with those laws and drive responsibly. Now go out and enjoy the drive.
Monty Hight is a retired California Highway Patrol officer and Public Information Officer. He is the North State AVOID Campaign’s Public Information Officer. He lives in Redding. More information on AVOID can be found here.