Thursday, June 6, 2013

No Turn On Red

TigerBlog pulled up to a traffic light the other day, and he was turning right.

There was a sign that said "No Turn On Red Weekdays 2-5." TB then looked at his clock and saw that it was 4:59.

What would you have done? Turn, or wait?

TB was debating that. He wondered if there was a police officer anywhere who would give someone a ticket for turning right at a right light one minute before it was okay to do so.

Whose clock was official anyway? Is it like when a game is on TV and everything has to be synced through the clock in the truck before the pregame countdown on the clock in the stadium can start. The cop's clock is the only one that matters?

Maybe it would become 5:00 before the light turned green. Maybe it wouldn't.

Then the guy behind TB honked at him. Didn't he see the sign? Didn't he know it wasn't exactly time to make a right turn on red?

The light turned green before the clock struck five, and TB waited to turn. That was two days ago. He's going to go back to that intersection at some point in the near future at around 4:55 and see how many people turn right on red before 5:00. He can report back on that.

Of course, there is the whole notion of coming to a complete stop before turning right on red, something that is in practicality more of a slow roll and then turn. TB is guilty of that all the time, yet something kept him from making the actual turn before the clock said it was time.

The ability to turn right on red predates when TB got his driver's license, though not by much. According to Wikipedia, it grew out of an idea to save gas during the fuel shortages in the 1970s.

Through the years TB has sometimes wondered why there would be a "No Turn On Red" sign at a certain intersection, when clearly it looks safe to turn there.

Then there's the question of whether or not it's legal to make a right on red in big cities. It's against the law in New York City, for instance, and so TB has wondered if he could turn right on red in unfamiliar cities.

And then there is the much less frequent left on red, at an intersection with two one-way streets. Is that legal?
Speaking of left turns, Peter Farrell, the Princeton women's track and field coach, was working with Miss TigerBlog before she ran for her middle school team this spring.

Her events were the 100 hurdles, the long jump and the 400, though she filled in on the 4x100 relay team one time, and it just so happened that the relay team set the school record that day.

Anyway, Farrell's advice to MTB on how to run the 400? Make four left turns and get back here as soon as you can.

With coaching like that, is it any wonder that Princeton is doing so well in the sport?

The Tigers had two All-Americas on the first day of the NCAA outdoor track and field championship. Freshman Julia Ratcliffe didn't have her best day, but she still finished 11th in the hammer and won All-America honors. Senior Russell Dinkins finished 16th in the 800, also becoming an All-America.

Dinkins ran a 1:50.7. Feel free to contrast that time with the 1:51.5 that Ed Burrowes ran for Princeton in the 1940 NCAA finals, to finish second overall.

Dinkins is back today in the 4x400, along with Austin Hollimon, Tom Hopkins and Daniel McCord.

Greta Feldman will make 16 left turns in the women's 1,500, and Heps cross country champion Chris Bendsten and Michael Franklin will run in the 10,000.

TB isn't sure how many lefts that is, but it's a lot.

There is a Day 1 photo gallery of the NCAA championships on, and it makes Oregon's Hayward Field look like the great place to watch track and field that it's made out to be.

TB's favorite picture is the one of Dinkins on the starting line, with the packed stands behind him.

Oh, and the 10,000 is 100 left turns.

TB is pretty sure at least.


Anonymous said...

I made a left turn on red onto a one-way street, then immediately saw the flashing lights of a police cruiser behind me. The officer told me that I ran a red light to which I responded, "It's legal to turn left on red onto a one-way street." He emphatically informed me, "No, it's not."

I retorted, "Well, it should be. Don't you see that it's the same principle as turning right onto a two-way street?" It probably did not help my case that I was driving a red sports car.

We sat there quietly in traffic as he thought about what I had said. After about ten seconds, he snapped, "Don't do it again" and left without giving me a ticket.

Anonymous said...

Like the classic Mario Andretti ad teaching his son to drive: "Turn right? Why would you want to do that?"