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Does Driving Drive You Crazy?


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Updates On White Lines, Flashing Yellow Arrows And Other Topics Of Life On Local Roads

Have you had a driver license for several decades? Or are you a newbie to the responsibilities of piloting a several-ton vehicle on public roads? Either way, you probably wonder now and then if there are new rules of the road, or if those “other drivers” – all worse than we are of course – are disobeying the longstanding rules and driving badly? We took a random survey of topics of concern and provide some clarification here.

 

Can You Make A U-Turn From Left-Turn-Only Lane?

At an intersection, it is legal to make a U-turn as long as the light is green, there is no sign prohibiting the U-turn and the motorist is in the furthermost left-turn lane; if it is a double left, then the right-hand left-turn-only lane cannot make a U-turn.

 

Is It Illegal To Use A Cell Phone While Driving In Texas?

According the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas law prohibits the use of cell phones while driving if you:

  • Have had a learner’s permit for 6 months or less.
  • Are under 18 years old.
  • Operate a school bus when children are present.
  • Are in a school crossing zone.

 

Can You Get Ticketed For Speeding On One Of Metro’s HOV Lanes?

According to personnel on Houston METRO’s customer help line, the cameras are recording your license plate and EZ Tag information. So conceivably, yes, you could speed in the HOV lanes; however officers do patrol the lanes, and it is illegal. So DON’T.

 

Which Area Intersections Seem To Cause The Most Problems?

These are some in the City of Sugar Land:

  • U.S. 59 South / University Blvd.
  • U.S. 59 South / West Grand Parkway
  • U.S. 59 North / U.S. 90A East
  • U.S. 59 South / SH 6 North
  • U.S. 90A West and East / SH 6 frontage road South

Due to a high volume of accidents, the City of Missouri City has installed a raised curb between the driveways coming out of the parking lots of Kroger, 6200 Highway 6, and Home Depot, 5900 Highway 6. Designated right-turn-only lanes have been striped on both the north and south side of South University.

 

A Reminder About Single Solid White Lines And Double White Lines

Is it illegal to cross a single solid white line as you pull onto the highway or anywhere else?

It’s only illegal if a sign has been erected at that location saying so. Otherwise, the solid line is considered a traffic control device and is meant to channelize traffic and discourage drivers from crossing for safety and traffic flow reasons. Changing lanes or turning across double white lines is prohibited.

 

Do Bicyclists Have To Obey The Rules Of The Road? Do Drivers Have To Yield To Cyclists?

Biketexas.org notes that bicyclists have the rights and duties of other vehicle operators, meaning that they have to obey the rules of the road, such as stopping at stop signs and red lights. Motorists are required to yield right-of-way to a bicycle when appropriate, just like with any other vehicle.

 

Left Turn On Flashing Yellow

Those flashing yellow arrows that indicate you can turn left across the intersection upon yielding are cleverly known in traffic management circles as Flashing Yellow Arrow (FYA) signals. They reduce wait times and vehicle emissions and improve traffic flow for motorists in left-turn lanes. Sugar Land – the first city in the Houston area to install them – has 78 intersections with FYAs; Missouri City has 27.

What is the proper etiquette at an intersection with a FYA?

When the yellow arrow flashes, drivers must yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians before turning left. Do not proceed into the intersection until there is adequate space in oncoming traffic to make a safe left turn. Drivers who enter the intersection and wait are no longer detected by the traffic signal and may be caught in the intersection when the light changes.

What happens If a pedestrian presses the crosswalk button while the flashing yellow arrow is on?

It will turn off while the pedestrian walk signals are on. This way, the person can cross the street without danger from left-turning vehicles. Once the walk signal turns off, the flashing yellow arrow will turn back on.

FYAs save time and are useful to keep traffic from building up. Interestingly, they aren’t a source of fender-benders. Research shows that the FYA signals are safer and more understandable to drivers than the traditional “yield on green” arrangements.

 

Changing Colors From Yellow To Red

Sugar Land has four intersections with red light cameras. Are they beneficial to drivers as a whole?

According to the City of Sugar Land, some of the interesting benefits of the cameras are:

  • The implementation of red light cameras in Sugar Land resulted in a 58 percent reduction in accidents at targeted intersections from 2009-2012.
  • Approximately 70 percent of violators do not live in Sugar Land.
  • In 2011 and 2012, cameras were removed at some intersections after compliance levels im­proved by almost 60 percent.
  • Ninety percent of the license plates sent a violation notice never warrant receiving a second notice.

 

Updates From Fort Bend County

Fort Bend County’s transportation projects can be found by clicking on Engineering under the Departments tab on the County’s website fortbendcountytx.gov. Once you are on the Engineering page, proposed mobility projects, the major thoroughfare plan and other topics are listed on the left.

 

Stay Safe On Our Area Roads, And Remember: Drive Friendly!


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