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Odd Traffic Violation Question - PLEASE HELP!!

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by macmaster05, Jul 21, 2011.

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  1. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    Ok I'm not saying this happened to me but let's just theorize...

    Ok, so say I was driving in a really wide right-hand lane. I needed to make a right turn. The lane is wide enough to fit 2 cars side by side but is not marked with any lines whatsoever (right turn lane, bike lane, etc). So say I pull out of my lane to make my right turn, driving alongside cars in the lane. Started doing this about 100 feet before the turn, but I was going faster than the cars to my left. (remember this is all hypothetical)

    Ok, out on one of the left lanes is a cop, directly across from me. As soon as I start going in my "lane", the cop starts coming my way. Like almost rams me perpendicular. A siren makes a short buzz and I think the lights flash for a moment. At this point I'm not sure if he was signaling for me. Therefore, I proceed to make my right turn, thinking if it's mine, he'll follow me. But the cop goes through the intersection straight, with the rest of the cars. I turn my head and see him stopped shortly after the intersection - obviously he stopped for something. He could've come around for me, but it would probably take a while since it was a big intersection - but here's the part I don't get - he could've followed me by turning right if he really wanted to pull me over!! I made it home alright, he never followed me, don't know if he could've since it'd take him a while. I know it's dangerous to post this stuff online but I don't know who to ask. I'm scared straight. IMO, it's a misunderstanding. But I want to know...

    1. Do you think he was coming after me?
    2. Was what I did actually illegal (creating a second right lane to make my turn)?
    3. What happens next if #1 and #2 are yes?

    Again, all hypothetical. Not saying it happened. Just askin....

    EDIT: by the way, the traffic light was green the whole time.
  2. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Nadir of Wrongness

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    1) every state has unique traffic laws, so USA is no help advising you of whats legal.*

    2) Mississippi is draconian about driving on the shoulder. if you are not in a lane you are toast. Washington allows shoulder driving in daylight, and even signs when it is safe and when to pull back into the lane.

    [​IMG]

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.61.428

    but

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=46.61.115

    however note that it has to be wide enough for two lanes, not marked as two lanes.

    * It is legal to drink while driving in Mississippi, but no where else in the USA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_open_container_laws#Open_containers_in_vehicles
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  3. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    Ca is the state.
  4. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    If he could have followed you and wanted to stop you he would have.
  5. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't know about the hypothetical situation. The best I can do is tell you about a stretch of road I drive regularly. This stretch is almost an entire mile and painted in a way that would make you believe that there's only one lane in either direction. However, each lane is wide enough for two cars, side by side with wiggle room. Some people are very rigid about driving the way it's painted and they will drive straight down the middle not allowing others to pass them. Others hang to the right and allow those who want to pass them on the left. The whole time, there are no white lines, no double lanes, no nothing. Just whatever feels right.

    This whole thing gets a little more complicated at the four-way stop. Sometimes there is one lane approaching. Sometimes two. Sometimes people get angry when a car sits in the middle of the lane. Sometimes they get angry when another car passes them in line and gets through the intersection before they do.

    I've attached a satellite image. You can see one car approaching the intersection and can tell there is room for a second lane even though there are no lines.

    So at the end of the day, unless there was a posted sign, I can't fault you.

    Attached Files:

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  6. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    Thanks so far.

    A bit more detail on the 4-way intersection. The right hand lane I and several other cars were driving in becomes the same lane after the intersection. IOW, the shoulder turns into nothing. I'm wondering if the cop thought I was trying to use the shoulder to cut people off and drive straight through the intersection. (Since I was going a little faster than the rest of them). That might explain why he didn't turn right to follow me, figuring I'd done nothing wrong having made my right turn. (But then why didn't he wait to see what I did instead of coming at me with his siren? And why did the cop stop after the intersection, with no car in front or behind him to indicate it wasn't me?)

    Ugh, I can't understand what is going through their minds but this is stressing me out. I don't even know if he ever got my plates since he was never really behind me or in front of me, rather next to me.

    I'd like to know if anybody knows, what comes next if I was going to be in trouble...
  7. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    Assuming he actually he blew his siren at you (you don't seem sure) and then didn't follow he was just letting you know you shouldn't do what you did and didn't feel like it was worth running you down to give you a ticket.

    Trust me on this, if he had wanted you to stop his ego wouldn't have allowed him to not chase you.
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  8. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    Thanks, XS, for the reassurance. If it was just a scare/warning, the only thing that worries me is how he stopped after the light, like he was writing me up or something. :confused:
    Interesting...the siren was a short "BUZZ" when the nose of his car was facing my side. Scary, like he was going to T-bone me. Then he turns his wheel left and goes straight ahead. To help you guys visualize, THIS is the intersection. See all that space on the right lane? I basically went on the shoulder from this distance to make my turn. Similar amount of traffic.

    Attached Files:

  9. Troyroy

    Troyroy Member

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    If he wanted you.......he would of gotten you.

    Forget about it......I would find out about using that unmarked shoulder when making a right hand turn. Check with the CHP or local police dept.
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  10. cproaudio

    cproaudio Speedlock Overrider

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    1. Do you think he was coming after me?

    If he's coming after you, he'll go after you regardless of what the traffic is doing but do so in a safe matter. When I was on a ride along, the LEO made a left turn from a right lane to chase down a guy who ran a red light. Before he did so he turned on his lights and signaled the driver to his left not to drive off.

    2. Was what I did actually illegal (creating a second right lane to make my turn)?

    It's a common practice that drivers are encouraged to merge to the right when they need to slow down so that they do not disturb the flow of traffic. In your case turning right.

    3. What happens next if #1 and #2 are yes?

    Cops will likely to stop drivers that violate the most severe traffic violations. If the officer sees a car speeding and running red lights and a guy who failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, guess who s/he's gonna chase down.
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  11. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    I would totally agree. Except it was kind of the opposite - I wasn't really slowing down to turn right. I used the shoulder to speed up. Cars were going maybe 25mph through the intersection, I was probably at 30-35mph before I actually approached the turn.
  12. Troyroy

    Troyroy Member

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    2. Was what I did actually illegal (creating a second right lane to make my turn)?

    It's a common practice that drivers are encouraged to merge to the right when they need to slow down so that they do not disturb the flow of traffic. In your case turning right.

    Wrong: The OP was not merging to the right. He was driving down a shoulder of the road. While traffic was stopped at a intersection, he says that he was driving faster then the other cars to his left. Sounds like the light at the intersection turned green just before he made his right turn.

    He's very lucky that the cop did not pull out in front of him, then he hits the cop while using the shoulder of the road.

    Each State & Local has different views on using the shoulder, around here it's a No-No.
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  13. airportkid

    airportkid Will Fly For Food

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    Citations require your signature to signify your understanding that you have been issued a court summons, the "Promise To Appear" phrase that captions the dotted line. Without your acknowledgement there's no ticket to write.

    I don't know how this works with photo controlled intersections because obviously such summons don't have a signature, but I believe when these photo tickets get contested most of them don't hold up. In your case I doubt the cop took a picture, so without your signature and without a photo, there's no ticket with your name on it. So fuhgettaboutit.

    Hypothetically speaking, of course. :p
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  14. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    Traffic was not stopped, they were moving. The light was green for as far/long as I could see.

    I know it's not right to use the shoulder. Honestly it felt funny, and I had the premonition something bad might happen with the cop around. I don't know why I did it, I guess because I have several times before on the same road. But the rules are so blurry when it comes to right turns, especially given the fact there are no painted lines. You see the picture I posted...

    That said, I will never do it again.
  15. Rae Vynn

    Rae Vynn Watch out, I have a degree in BS!

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    Here in our town, people often move over to the far right side of the street over a block before the main right turn. It is also not delineated, and I tend to not move over that soon.

    I'll have to ask the police chief about that the next time I see him. Though, the last time we talked, he was telling me about someone that he watched drive down the sidewalk (!), who told him the reason they did that was because the street was closed, and they needed to go that way... :huh: He tends to shake his head a lot at the drivers around here...
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  16. cproaudio

    cproaudio Speedlock Overrider

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    He did say that he pulled to the right and created his own lane and passed rest of the traffic 100 feet before the intersection to make a right turn. This seems normal to me. He's not passing other traffic on the right shoulder just to get back into the traffic ahead of his original position. He did make a right turn and is within 100 feet from the intersection. As long as you're not creating your own lane either on the left or the right for the sole purpose of passing someone then you're OK.
    When traveling northbound, I create my own right lane all the time before this intersection and pass up all the traffic on the left. Done it in front of cops, never got pulled over because of it. As you can see by the tire marks that this has been done every day.
    [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

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  17. andyprius

    andyprius Senior Member

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    What you did was not illegal, but simply unsafe. I had a couple of occasions where I was making a right and edged right to allow the person behind me to pass, BIG Mistake, the lane narrowed again and I risked an accident, as the idiot behind me passed me in my lane not allowing me to return to the center of the lane, thus I had to brake! I am now wary of that area and never allow someone to share MY lane, because they will. I cannot rightly fault the driver behind as he also did not know the lane narrowed. Perhaps that was where the Cop was coming from? Perhaps he was thinking of only giving you a warning and changed his mind.
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  18. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Senior Member

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    Maybe he thought you were trying to pass other car on the shoulder? Then realized that you were making right turn.
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  19. Politburo

    Politburo Active Member

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    It seems to be a gray area, legally. It seems to fall into one of the defined allowances for passing on the right, but at the same time there's a section that says you have to pass on the right "in safety", and that is undefined.

    IMO it is unsafe to pass on the right in the same marked lane as moving traffic because you don't know if one of the people you're passing is going to suddenly go right, and someone making a right turn like that would not be checking for traffic coming up on the right. So I typically wouldn't make a move like that. If traffic is stopped that's a different story.. but even then if it's more than a couple cars to pass I'll usually wait. Not too many situations like that around here though since shoulders are rarely large enough for a vehicle to pass, or there's on-street parking, etc.
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  20. stevemcelroy

    stevemcelroy Active Member

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    This seems like the most likely explanation to me - did you have your turn signal on the whole time you were traveling on the right?

    As for your questions-
    1. Do you think he was coming after me?
    Seems at least likely.

    2. Was what I did actually illegal (creating a second right lane to make my turn)?
    I'd say yes - you can not just "create" a lane - the road is either striped with multiple lanes or it is a single lane. If it were a lane then there would have been other cars using it as such. Had it been intended as a turn lane then it would have been marked with stripes and or signs.

    3. What happens next if #1 and #2 are yes?
    It has already happened so I do not follow. In the future if you do it I'd say at least be very careful - signal that you are turning and keep to a reasonable speed. You do not mention how fast you or the cars to your left were, or the posted speed limit. If the other cars are going slowly - say 5mph and you are going 10 you can claim that you were being cautious - however if they are going 5 and you are going 30 then it might be more problematic. The issue with speed is if there is someone actually waiting to make the turn and not expecting someone to blow by them on the right it could be dangerous - big disparities in speed are dangerous - that is why roads have speed minimums as well as why speed limits are all considered conditions permitting.




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