You Are Probably Breaking the Law at Every Yellow Light
On the show this morning we were talking about owning up to your own personal bad driving habits, or things you know you do wrong. In the course of taking calls and texts from listeners I found out that I have been breaking the law while driving even more than I thought I was.
What I remember being taught about driving is that if you were in an intersection during a yellow light, you were not breaking the law if the light turned red. Also when you were trying to turn left at a red light, and you inch out so that when it turns red and oncoming traffic has to stop, then you can go.
As it turns out, I was wrong. In both cases, you are breaking the law and have technically run a red light.
We spoke with Officer Valsquez from the Sioux Falls Police department and he told us that in both cases it would be a ticket worthy offense. But he also said that if you cannot safely stop when the light turns yellow and you are not yet in the intersection - meaning you'd have to mash the brakes to stop - you should proceed through the intersection.
We also heard from listeners who thought this was just a Sioux Falls ordinance and the state law was different. Well, really it isn't.
I looked at the South Dakota Drivers License Manual and on page 21 - while it doesn't give specific instances for application of this law - it described proper driving pretty much the same as Valasquez said.
So if you think you're right the next time you park in an intersection to turn left or hit the gas when the light turns yellow, you're wrong. I have been as long as I have been driving.