When it’s right to turn left
In the US and many European cities you’re allowed to turn right on a red light if there is no traffic coming, meaning less queuing and more driving.
It’s a great advantage and one I used frequently while driving around California last week during my holiday in Los Angeles after the motor show.
And woe betide if you don’t turn on the right light if the lane is free.
Horns will be honked and the drivers behind you will not be impressed if you pause for a few seconds. Of course, you do have to make sure there are no pedestrians on the crossing.
Luckily LA-based friends had tipped me off about this a few years ago when I was visiting.
But I didn’t realise it extended to Europe until I was sitting at a red light in Munich in a BMW i3, waiting to turn right, and cars behind me started tooting.
My passenger wasn’t so sure that I was correct as I maneuvered the car right in the empty lane — and I think he was expected to hear police sirens at any second.
But as an American colleague found out a few years ago when visiting Auckland, New Zealand police will turn on their sirens and pull you over if you turn left (in our case) on a red light.
The colleague tried to explain but the police officer was in no mood for the “dumb tourist” excuse.
But as I sit at a red light now I’m back in New Zealand, I think the Americans and Europeans are onto a smart thing.
Imagine how easy the morning and evening commutes would be in our cities if we could turn left on a red light?