No turn on red, except sometimes

I'm not sure if everyone in the less traffic-heavy parts of the country have them too, but here in Southern California we have these intersections where you can't make a right turn at a red light. It's not every intersection, it's just these specific ones. And I do get it. I understand that there are certain intersections which, due to heavy traffic during specific parts of the day, might not be the safest places to pull into traffic. The problem is that I've begun to notice these "no turn on red" signs showing up everywhere with little caveats attached to them, designating when you have to actually pay attention to them. This really annoys me.

As I mentioned before, I understand the reason for prohibiting right turns on red lights and it doesn't annoy me to have to sit through a whole light cycle at an intersection that does this. What does annoy me is when I have to break my driving rhythm to determine whether or not I can proceed through the light. If the light has a blanket "sorry, you have to wait" sign, I can just treat the intersection as if I were in any of the other lanes. But if the light has stupid stipulations attached to it, I have to determine the block of time turning on a red is prohibited, determine the current time, determine whether or not the current time is within the prohibited time, and then make the judgement call of whether or not I'd like to proceed.

Sure, I know the whole process only take a second or two, but when I drive my attention is often on the other drivers and the moves they're making (or preparing to make). Anything that forces me to break that attention to do stupid calculations to determine whether or not the local time designates making a right turn at my current red light a ticket-able offense, it's annoying. That's not even considering the frustrations of being honked at by the always-in-a-rush Californians who never notice the no turn on red signs anyways.

You know, maybe it's really just the absurdity of the situation that annoys me. I mean, if the intersection is really unsafe, wouldn't' it be unsafe all the time? It's not like the physical layout of the street changes throughout the day. Isn't that sort of like having a side street that ends with a stop sign during certain hours and a yield sign others? It just doesn't make much sense to me.

posted by Christopher Schnese