dead red

In the U.S., it is legal to make a right turn on a red light in nearly all cities (except for New York City). In those cities, you can make a right on red: IF YOU STOP FIRST. AND IF THERE'S NO VEHICLE (OR PEDESTRIAN) COMING.

Every day, in L.A., as I drive home in the late afternoon, I have to contend with idiot drivers who do not know how to make a right turn on red. Here's what happens: I am stopped at a light, awaiting a green arrow to make a left hand turn. I have my blinker on to turn left. The light changes, giving me a green arrow to turn left. The traffic signal for drivers opposite me who want to turn right is red. Dead red. No green arrow. Having the right of way, I proceed through the intersection on my green arrow--only to see a car opposite me illegally turning right--on a dead red light--cutting me off, forcing me to give up my right of way, forcing me to give up my lane, and my goodwill towards men. I have to slow down in order to avoid crashing into the other illegally turning vehicle. It gets worse. Often, the vehicle illegally turning right on red does not even stop or slow down before turning right, thereby running a red light. The offending drivers are always scared and confused when they finally see me coming straight at them, then seeing me slow down to avoid an illegal-right-on-red-collision. I can see the fear and confusion on their faces as they see me coming, "Huh, where did HE come from?" Duh. Where's a traffic cop when you need one? In over 25 years, I have never seen anyone pulled over or arrested at this intersection for illegally making a right turn on a red light, for running a light that's dead red.

And, yes, there are numerous accidents at that intersection. It's wonder there aren't more injuries and deaths, due to stupid and dangerous driving, caused by stupid and dangerous drivers making an illegal right turn on red.

To all you drivers who don't know, or don't care, about legally and safely making a right on red, L-E-A-R-N. Your life may depend on it. More importantly, MY life may depend on it.

Before you make a right turn on red: STOP. And look at the traffic (and pedestrians). If a vehicle (or pedestrian) is coming through the intersection, and they have the right of way, DON'T PROCEED anyway! If you do, you could cause a serious or fatal accident and wind up in jail. Or the morgue.