Are you OBLIGATED to make a right on red?

Coming home from work today, I was stopped at a red light, and used that time to change the CD in my car player (which of course I don’t do when the car is moving). The driver of the panel truck behind me honked, but I didn’t respond. He honked again, and while I was checking the cross traffic, he yelled something I didn’t catch, and didn’t particularly care about. Then the light turned green; I turned, he went forward.

I live in LA, just so you know. But I don’t see why I’m obligated to always make a right on red, just because I’m allowed. I’m obligated to be sober when I drive, I’m obligated not to hit any object or person, and I’m obligated to obey the laws that prohibit actions, like running stop signs. But if I want to take advantage of a short breather at a stop light, I will. Shouldn’t I?

Note: Regardless of what anyone says, I’m not going to change my opinion. I just wondered if anyone else feels as I do.

  1. The guy got all hissy-fitted up on your butt and he was going STRAIGHT? He wouldn’t have profited at all if you HAD turned! The only way your turning would have done him any good would have been if he’d also been turning. Stupid, stupid people.

  2. No, you’re not obligated. You’re ALLOWED. The stupid, stupid people who share the road with you will try to MAKE you feel obligated, of course, but really there IS no obligation and they’re just impatient. What kind of emergency is it that it’ll kill them to wait til the light changes? :rolleyes:

Although it is legal here in California to make a right turn on a red light, you are not obligated if you believe it is not safe for you to do so (for whatever reason it may be).

L.A. is just too full of those idiots that sit and honk their horns at you for (what they believe to be) the slightest infraction. I’ll remember being on La Brea, and being honked at because I waited 3 seconds after the light turned green to make sure the intersection was clear before moving forward (because I’ve seen waaaaay too many run red lights around there).

I don’t think you are legally obligated at all. I do think, howwever, that it’s inconsiderate to occupy yourself fiddling around with things in your car when there are people waiting to turn behind you. If I was behind someone who was obviously planning on turning (signal on etc) and there was lots of clear roadway to make the turn, I would beep. More of a friendly little “reminder” beep, mind you; not a big nasty one. :slight_smile:

However, since the guy was going forward & not even planning on turning, I don’t know what his deal was. Are you sure he was honking & yelling because he wanted you to turn? Perhaps you have brake lights out, or something like that. Maybe he wanted to ask you out on a date? How do you know he was honking because he wanted you to hurry up already & turn?

I don’t know the traffic laws in LA well enough to know if you’re obligated to turn right on a red light (provided that you are allowed to, there are places that will state No Turn on Red), but having lived and driven in LA, I can safely say that you will be subjected to more people honking and yelling things at you if you don’t.

I’m not saying you should change your ways, you’ll do as you wish, and as long as you’re not putting my safety at risk I don’t have a beef with you. At most it’s a minor irritation that will be forgotten by the time I’m at the next light.

What I don’t understand is why he honked if he was going straight? If he was waiting to turn also I could understand why he’d get bent out of shape if he perceived you holding him up (this is LA we’re talking about: RUSH RUSH RUSH), but he wasn’t going to get through that light until it turned green regardless of whether you turned on the red or not.

Oops. My back window brake light is out. The two on the hatch work, but that one doesn’t. Still, from his tone, he seemed disgruntled.

I can empathize but not sympathize with him. It looked like the kind of truck from which deliveries are made. So he was probably driving around all day, and now it was knocking-off time, and he was fed up. However, patience is the keynote.

Gosh, what an open mind. It’s considerate of you to warn us of this in advance, so we won’t waste our time conversing with you.

The forum is called “In My Humble Opinion”. I was asking for other people’s opinions. I can do that without surrendering my own.

Well said! Differing opinions is what makes this board fun. Welcome, anyhow, MrNeutron. Ya just gots to learn the rules is all! :slight_smile:

There is something about being encased in our little anonymous metal modules that can bring out the jerk in a lot of the driving public. (I’m sure I’ve had a moment of jerkieness at least once myself; though I try to be a polite driver.) If I see someone noodling along doing 45mph in the left lane, I remember my dad. Bless his cotton socks, but he just never could figure out why people were always in such a dang hurry. If someone is going extremely fast, I remember a vetinary emergency recently where I was driving over 80mph in a 40 to the vet, because I had a dying dog on the seat next to me.

I used to drive a truck OTR, though. One has to either learn patience or go postal!

no, you are not obligated. if fact sometimes it is the only way a ped. can get across the street. 'cause once it turns green you won’t get a chance with all the cars turning.

Actually, (correct me if I’m wrong) I think you are only legally obligated to yield the right-of-way, and you are never obligated to take it.

If you have a green light, but you feel that conditions are not safe for you to enter the intersection, you are entitled to come to a stop and not proceed until you are satisfied that it is safe to do so. I imagine that if this is taken to a ridiculous extreme, you could be ticketed for obstructing traffic or something, though.

If somebody honks at me while I’m waiting for a safe opportunity to turn right on red, I always wait for the light to turn green. Such rudeness is uncalled for.

It’s ‘obliged,’ not ‘obligated.’ :slight_smile:

But anyway, I just thought I’d point out that here in Australia, a red light means STOP, in all cases. You can only right turn (or left) when the little green turn-light is lit.

So speaketh a man who has never driven a car in his life and does not know the road rules to this non-indigenous country.

I suspect that the driver may actually have been alerting you to your brakelight. Regardless of what people might assume based on T.V. shows, Angelinos, in my experience are extremely reluctant to apply their horns.

To Guanolad: My dictionary defines “oblige” and “obligate” almost identically. Of course it’s just the O.E.D., so it may not be as definitive as your source. May I ask what your source is?

I don’t agree with JavaMaven1. You cannot always make a turn. Often it’s illegal but it should be posted as such.

If there was someone behind me hooking away like that I think that I would turn (especially in LA)…

Well, he’s hardly able to go forward if there’s a car in front of him not moving, is he?

Well, he couldn’t go forward until the light turned green, when Rilchiam turned. If Rilchiam had turned on the red the truck would have had to wait at the red light anyway. At least if the truck was turning, he might have been able to save some time by turning on the red after Rilchiam turned. As it was he would have gained only the smallest amount if Rilchiam had turned, so why was he so upset? Now we are back at the crux of the issue.

Some people think that if they’re the first ones in line at a stoplight, it makes it turn green faster.

Strange but true fact.

If it is safe to make a right turn on a red light (no traffic approaching, no pedestrians crossing, etc.) and there is no one behind you waiting to turn, then no; you don’t have to turn.

If it is safe to make a right turn on a red light (no traffic approaching, no pedestrians crossing, etc.) and there is someone behind you who wants to turn and you refuse to go, then you are obstructing traffic and could be issued a citiation.

If you were driving 45 mph on the freeway, in good driving conditions and with no traffic, and you’re not holding anyone up, then there’s no problem; but I’ve seen people driving 45 mph on the freeway who were holding up traffic who were pulled over by the Highway Patrol.

I don’t think you were inconsiderate in this case since the truck was not turning; but it would be very inconsiderate to not proceed if someone is waiting behind you to turn.

There is a right turn I need to make to go to work. If the light is red and I make the turn, chances are I will make the next light (a left). If I’m unable to make the right turn, then I’ll probably miss the light for the left turn. The problem I run into constantly is that people don’t understand that they must turn right into the right-most lane. Since there are two lanes in the crossing direction before the light and three lanes after the light, the right lane is always free unless someone changes lanes in the middle of the intesection (not often; mostly busses when it happens). But people want to turn into the left or centre lane (which isn’t legal) instead of the right lane, so I have to wait. I miss the next light, and often the one after that.

So if someone is waiting to turn behind you and you do not proceed, you might be causing the person more delays than just that one light. And people can be very impatient when they’re late for work, their bladders are bursting, they’re sick, their kids will be late getting to school, they have explosive diarhea, they’ve just revceived a call that a loved one has been in an accident and they are trying to get to the hospital before the person snuffs it, or any of a number of things that you have no inkling of.

Sometimes people have reasons to be in a hurry. The considerate thing to do would be to make the turn.

oh yeah … DUH … sorry, this heat must be getting to me :smiley:

LA keeps moving, somewhat in spite of itself, because every one takes advantage of every break in traffic. As an example of this, consider what happens when it rains - people stop taking the insane risks that are associated with driving here, and traffic slows to a crawl.

That said, if it is better for you to take advantage of a red light to do car maintaince stuff (changing CDs, taking a few deep breathes, etc), go for it. And I’d personally like to thank you for not doing these things while moving - the life you save could be, well, mine.

It is a little odd that someone would shout at you and honk, just because you didn’t move. With out more information, I’m going for the light burned out theory.