Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Things that make you go hmmm....

After I deposited every child at their respective schools this morning, I went food shopping at my local OMG HOW much did I spend? grocery store.

Load the vehicle.
Drive home.

But on my drive home, I encountered a situation that had me scratching my head.  

I was in the left-turn-only lane (facing east) and my arrow turned green....meaning the only people allowed to drive were the ones in the left turn lane.  Same for the cars facing west.  All was moving smoothly.

Now...I don't know about you, but even when I have the right-of-way, I'm moving my eyes around to see what the other cars are doing.  I'm generally not in the mood to get hit by some nimrod who's too busy texting to watch the traffic lights...know what I'm sayin'?

So as I'm turning left, I notice that there's a police car in the west-facing lanes who is inching his way through the intersection to go straight.  Please note that his lights were NOT flashing and he wasn't honking or giving any other indication that he might be on his way to something urgent.  He was just driving.  It appeared that he assumed he had the right-of-way simply because he was driving a police cruiser.

When I see lights flashing or hear sirens blaring, I pull over.  Always.  Cuz....DUH.  So my immediate thought was to keep driving.  

No lights?  No emergency.  
No sirens?  No emergency.  
No honking horn?  No emergency.  

But then I thought...Did I just break a law?  Was I required to stop and let him through?  Is it simply a common courtesy to allow an officer the right-of-way?  In the absence of lights and sirens, I normally treat a police car as just another car on the road.

So I'll ask my loyal readers:
What do you think?  What would you have done?  Was I wrong?


  1. I would have done exactly what you did. Sounds like he was either exerting his power incorrectly or forgot his lights and siren.

  2. In my opinion, you were correct. Always yield to emergency vehicles when lights/sirens are going, but otherwise, they should abide by the rules of the road. I'm interested to hear from any emergency personnel or their spouses, though, in case my opinion is incorrect...

  3. I've done the exact same thing like twice in the last week: once near my house and once near work, both with left turn signals, in front of police cars. You have the right of way :-) Cops tend to be pretty aggresive drivers.

  4. I think you were right - a police car with the sirens/lights off is just another car. However, I've seen that same thing happen quite a bit. I've also seen them flip the ligths on quickly just to go through a red light (because they're tired of waiting), and then quickly flip them off as soon as they're through.

    Incidentally, you still want to keep your eyes open, though. I knew a girl in college who got hit by an ambulance (she was driving a Geo Metro) that went through a red left turn arrow, and the police ruled it her fault because it was an ambulance (lights/siren were off at the time). Assume it will be your fault if they hit you, even if it's really not your fault.


I'd love to hear from you!