I left my house about an hour ago this morning heading to work, and at the four-way intersection by my house, I encountered something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before in my life.
For traffic traveling north- or south-bound on the major street, the light was red…and green. At the same time. The yellow was not lit, but both red and green lights were lit as brightly as normal (as well as both the walk and don’t walk signals, for those pedestrians who had hoped to avoid this mess altogether). The traffic signal for the street going east and west showed solid red, only. I was traveling east, looking to turn north onto the major street.
I was able to see the issue as I approached the light, and I assumed that people would be treating the light like a four-way stop sign. But in Los Angeles, apparently, we take the attitude that if the light shows green, that means go, no matter what else the light may be doing. In the brief period of time I sat at the light, at least six or seven cars went through the signal heading north or south, and most didn’t even so much as slow down.
Anyway, when the northbound and southbound traffic had a break, I just went ahead and made my left turn. But now I’m wondering whether what I did was technically legal. I was treating the intersection as a four-way stop, so it made sense to me to turn when it was safe to do so. But I went through a solid red to do so. I was only at the light for maybe ten to fifteen seconds, so I didn’t wait long enough to see if the signal was going to change in any way. Would a police officer have had a valid reason to stop me? What should I have done differently, if anything?