I live in the state of Georgia in the US. I was on the road at four AM this morning, and I came to a red light. Shortly after I stopped, a new song began on the radio, one that I liked a lot and became engrossed in. When the song stopped and the light was still red, I realized I had been at the light for four minutes.
This sort of thing has happened to me late at night several times before, often at the same lights as on previous occasions. For some reason, in the dead of night they just stop changing. On this occasion, I was able to back up into a different lane, then use a series of right-turns-on-red to get where I needed to go. But this has happened enough that I want to know two things: 1) Why does this sort of thing usually happen? 2) Legally, can I go after a certain time on such a light? What can I tell the police officer who happens to cruise up just as I give in to frustration and take my left turn on red?