There are so many rules of the road, sometimes it's hard to keep them all straight.
- Viewer asks about left-on-red turns in downtown St. Petersburg
- Officer describes when it's legal
- Have a Traffic Inbox story for Chuck? Click here
This week's Traffic Inbox answers a question from a viewer who is tired of being honked at for doing what she feels is right.
At issue is making a left turn when the signal in front of you is red. When can you do it? And what lane do you need to be in?
"Every morning on my drive to work I have to go via I-175," writes Spectrum Bay News 9 viewer Maggie Soto. "Both 5th Avenue South and 3rd Street South have three lanes. I have noticed that most traffic from 5th Avenue turns left on the red light once they get to 3rd Street South. Is this legal?"
"So, the short answer is yes you can," said St. Petersburg Officer Robert Peters, who works the traffic beat. "It's actually set up with two left-hand turn lanes. One is a devoted left-hand turn lane and there's one that's a straight or left-hand turn lane."
A driver approaching the intersection in the left lane might feel confident to make that turn on red when it was safe to do so.
But it's not a single-lane to single-lane intersection. There are four eastbound lanes on 5th Avenue, and 3rd Street is a two-way street to the south and a four-lane one-way street to the north.
That would confuse anyone.
Real Time Traffic Expert Chuck Henson watched a few drivers make the left from the second lane. Is that move legal?
"Make sure that traffic is clear, and after she's made that full and complete stop, she is allowed to turn left from either that inside lane or the second lane over also," Peters said.
Henson watched another driver turn from the left lane on 5th Avenue to the right lane on 3rd Street.
"If she's making the stop here in the curb lane, she's obligated to continue to make that turn into the curb lane to travel north," Peters said. "Likewise, if you're in the middle lane, the second lane over, there's even markings on the road to indicate where you're supposed to travel. You need to maintain that same lane of travel from 5th Avenue onto 3rd Street."
In a nutshell, right on red, you can make anywhere unless it is marked otherwise. Left on red is only from a one-way to another one-way.