Using a parking lot to avoid the light

Ask The Traffic School Instructor: Using A Parking Lot To Avoid Traffic Signals

Question: If you’re at a red light and need to turn, is it illegal to avoid the light by cutting through a parking lot?

Answer: It’s very tempting – you need to turn right but you’re two or three cars behind the light and the drivers ahead are going straight. It would be so easy to just cut through the parking lot and exit onto your street but imagine if a whole line of cars were doing that every time the light was red.

It is against the law to cut through a parking lot to avoid a traffic signal. In Florida, this law is covered under Florida Statute 316.074 – Obedience to and required traffic control devices. If a law enforcement officer were to observe you doing this, you could receive a moving violation ticket. Almost all states have a similar law.

The only time it would be permissible was if you were directed to do so by a law enforcement officer. A situation where this could happen was if there were a traffic crash in the intersection and traffic was backed up. At that point, an officer might direct traffic through the parking lot to clear the traffic and keep it moving. However, before doing this, the officer would first have to decide whether or not the extra traffic might pose a danger to pedestrians or other traffic in the parking lot before allowing traffic to cut through. Situations like that would be very rare.

When you’re sitting at a red light, your sense of time can become distorted and every second spent waiting seems like five. If you were to actually time the length of a red light, you would probably find that the actual time spent was much shorter than it seemed. It’s better to just wait it out and avoid getting a ticket rather than avoiding the light.

Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over

Labor Day Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over Campaign Begins

Labor Day is near and that means millions of people will be headed to the beach or lake to celebrate the end of summer. Unfortunately, for many, it also means they will be driving drunk or will become the victim of a drunk driver. To prevent that, law enforcement agencies across the nation have already begun cracking down on drunk drivers. This year’s “Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over” campaign began on August 15th and will run through the end of Labor Day weekend on September 1st.

How bad is the problem? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during the 2012 Labor Day weekend (6 p.m. Friday to 5:59 a.m. Tuesday), 147 people died in drunk driving crashes. On an average day, someone is killed in a drunk driving crash every 51 minutes but, during Labor Day weekend, that figure jumps to one every 34 minutes. Young drivers between the ages of 18-34 make up the largest segment of drunk drivers.

If you plan to include alcohol as part of your Labor Day weekend festivities, make sure you have a safe way to get home. Use a designated driver or some alternate means of transportation. Better yet, enjoy the final holiday of the summer without alcohol. Don’t become a statistic or ruin the lives of your family or some other innocent family by drinking and driving.

Safety messages

Safety Messages In A Language Drivers Can Understand

Safety messages often go ignored so the Massachusetts Department of Transportation decided to post messages in a language Bostonians can understand. “Use Yah Blinkah” was the first message posted and proved so popular that a contest was organized to get more ideas from  Massachusetts residents. More than 500 entries were received. To see the winners, read more: Humor, highway safety merge in contest

Photo credit: AP / Michael Dwyer

Fighting crimes vs traffic enforcement

Ask the Traffic School Instructor: Fighting Crimes vs Traffic Enforcement

Question: Is there any study on how many crimes are not solved or prevented because police are enforcing traffic laws instead?

Answer: I’ve had this question before in my traffic classes. The question that’s usually asked is more along the lines of “Why aren’t the police out solving crimes instead of going after good, honest folks like us?” There aren’t any studies that I know of to answer your specific question but we can do another type of comparison that may give you something to think about. Continue Reading

Punishment should fit the crime

Should The Punishment Fit The Traffic Offense?

Should the punishment fit the crime? Police in China have announced that, in addition to paying a fine, drivers who fail to dim their high beams when approaching oncoming traffic will have to stare into high beams for five minutes.

The author of this article has come up with some novel punishments to fit the traffic crime. Caught applying makeup in traffic: no makeup for a week. How do you feel?

Read more: Punishments for driving offenses should fit the crimes