The in basket: Donald Hein e-mailed to say, “Southbound, leaving the freeway at Silverdale, at the end of the off-ramp two lanes are left-turn to East Bremerton and one lane is right-turn to Silverdale.
“More-or-less opposite the left-turning lanes at the end of the off-ramp is a traffic signal. And, at the end of the off-ramp is a Yield sign, which can only apply to right-turning traffic.
The question is: Does the traffic signal on the opposite side control only the left-turning lanes? In other words, are right-turning vehicles required to stop when the signal is red, or are they controlled only by the Yield sign, and thus can proceed cautiously without making a full stop?
“This situation occurs most obviously when traffic from Silverdale is making a left turn across the front of the off-ramp, on their way to the on-ramp for the freeway northbound.
“The point is, the traffic signal is ambiguously located, and/or maybe needs a text sign added which clarifies its applicability,” Don argues.
The out basket: The Yield sign controls the right turn, and the traffic signals control only the left turns. Even without the Yield sign, right turners would be able to make a legal right turn on red after stopping and yielding. The sign was added to make it clear that stopping isn’t necessary if there is no conflicting traffic heading toward Silverdale, reducing backups of right turners.
If accidents become enough of a problem there, I would expect adding a stop sign for right turners would be the first step.
State Trooper Russ Winger says, “We do get our share of rear-end collisions here. Invariably they are caused when the lead right-turning vehicle starts into the turn and then stops when they see approaching traffic from the left. The following vehicle driver assumes the lead vehicle is continuing the turn as they look to the left for traffic and they fail, in that brief moment, to observe that the lead vehicle has stopped.
“There is usually traffic stopped in the two left-turn lanes that hinders vision for the right-turning vehicle until they get into the turn a bit. Not a great design there, in my opinion.
“Myself and other troopers have investigated more than a few rear-end collisions with similar sequence of events. In my experience the rear vehicle is at fault in most instances,” Russ concluded.
I don’t see anything ambiguous about where the traffic signals are situated. And I can’t picture wording on signs next to the signal heads that wouldn’t cause more confusion than they’d eliminate.