Law: July 2004 Archives

What do you do when road signs lead to flat-out contradictions? Is there a way to know which one trumps the other? I've encountered the following situation more than once. When you have a two-lane (on each side) road, with a turning lane and one lane continuing, there's always the issue of whether you need to stop before turning right from the turning lane. If there's a stop sign, then you must stop of course. If there's a single light for the straight lane and none for the turning lane, then you need not stop. If there's a yield sign, you need not stop. If there are two lights, one for each lane, and the turning light has a red/green arrow, then you go by the light. If there are two lights and the turning light just matches the other one, then you have to stop before you turn right if it's red. What if there's a yield sign and a double light, and you come up to the light when it's red? The double light clearly indicates that one of the lights is for the turning light, and when it's red you have to stop before turning right. But then there's the yield sign. Doesn't that mean you don't have to stop if you're turning unless there's someone coming? The import of this is that you have a legal obligation to do something but that there's also a law telling you that you don't have that exact legal obligation. Right?

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