Take that damned right turn on red!

August 10, 2011 | By | 10 Replies More

Right turns on red have been legal in my state (Missouri) for many years. Could someone please . . . PLEASE . . . tell me why so many people are so hesitant to take that right turn on red, even when it is perfectly safe to do so, and even when they will sit for along time at the light if they fail to turn right on red?

I took the attached photo while waiting for several cars to turn right on red. The front car never made that turn, and therefore all of us sat there. I honked, but it did no good. When the light turned green, all of these cars turned right.

I witness this reluctance all the time. What is the deal? Are they afraid? Ignorant of the law? Obstinate? Sleeping?

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Category: American Culture

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (10)

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  1. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Erich,
    I live in a state that has allowed right on red since the 70s, and I find it somewhat amazing that all state don’t permit this. What I’ve seen in Nashville is that drivers from states where right on red is a violation, are often the ones holding up the traffic.

  2. Edgar Montrose says:

    I’m not sure I know what you’re complaining about. I frequently find myself a pedestrian, attempting to cross intersections at crosswalks. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve had to execute evasive maneuvers to avoid cars that turned right on red without stopping, or looking, or caring, as I crossed (on the green) in front of them. One woman in a beautiful, expensive Audi convertible, after very nearly removing my knees, flipped me off as she continued on her way.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Edgar. I’ve been struck by a right turning car too, though not hurt. I agree that pedestrians are at great risk. May there be an afterlife so that the woman in the Audi pays for her sins someday . . .

    • Edgar Montrose says:

      Erich, as an attorney you might appreciate my comment to the woman in the Audi: “Keep running down pedestrians and you’ll lose that fancy car!” That was what prompted her one-finger salute.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Edgar: I supposed she didn’t like being told to stop running people over. You’ve impinged on one of her god-given freedoms.

  3. Erich,

    I’m still waiting patiently (NOT!) for people in this state to just use their damn turn signals PERIOD! How hard is it to push that little switch and let everyone around you know what you’re going to do? Very difficult, apparently, and then some get indignant when you’re clearly pissed at them and they think it’s your fault you didn’t know what they were going to do.

    Personally, I think most motorists don’t know what they’re going to do until the moment they do it, including making a right turn. Regardless of the light. The change of light is merely a reminder that they have to actually, you know, DO something.

  4. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Unofficial Rules for driving in Nashville:

    On the intersate, the turn signal is used to indicate you have no intention of changing lanes, but that the driver behind you may pass on that side.
    On city streets, the turn signal indicates you have no intention of turning in direction.
    on the interstate, the speed limit is the minimum. adjust your speed to a distance of three feet or less behind the vehicle infront of you.
    In Nashville, the larger vehicle has the right of way. sneakers yield to bicycles, bicycles yield to Segways, Segways yield to motorcycles, motorcycles yield to Smarts, … you get the idea.
    In Nashville, green is go, red is stop and yellow means go very fast. In the nearby city of Franklin, yellow is the exact same as red, and yo may be ticketed for running a yellow light. In Brentwood TN, which is between Nashville and Franklin, yellow means the same as green and you may be ticketed for stopping at a yellow light.
    If you are satopped for a violation, try to convince the officer that you are on the personal staff of one of the Titans. if you are convincing, you may be let off with a warning.
    If you are brown skinned, or happen to have a nice tan, driving a nice lat model car or truck will get you pulled over, by off duty cops working as private security for the apartment comlpexes. if you are white and driving a nice car on lafayatte street, Clifton avenue, or any part of North Nashville, you may be stopped for suspicion of buying drugs.

    If you are of any race, driving a rust-buck car or truck, you will be ignored by the police unless you are so drunk you can’t tell which end of the car is the front.

    In Nashville, it is considered impolite to use the horn to gets someones attention. Instead, use the internationally recognised hand signal, the M-finger salute.

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