Gridlock is something that no one enjoys. Lines of automobiles blocking a junction because they have nowhere to go on the other side produce lots of annoyance for other drivers and increase the traffic situation.
Anti-gridlock was introduced in 1987 by the California State Legislature in an effort to curtail the practice. Since then, driver’s education classes have ingrained the necessity of avoiding gridlock in pupils.
However, what does the California anti-gridlock statute truly forbid, and what are the consequences for drivers found infringing it, even unwittingly? The state’s anti-gridlock statute is explained in full detail below.
Anti-Gridlock Legislation Prohibits the Following:
According to Section 22526(a) of the California Vehicle Code, “Notwithstanding any official traffic control signal indication to proceed, a driver of a vehicle shall not enter an intersection or marked crosswalk unless there is sufficient space on the other side of the intersection or marked crosswalk to accommodate the vehicle driven without obstructing the through the passage of vehicles from either side.”
In plain English, this implies that you cannot enter a junction until you are satisfied that you can clear it without obstructing people or any other cars from proceeding on their route.
Regardless of whether or not the light is green, you will be unable to proceed if vehicles backing up on the other side of the junction prevent you from doing so without also blocking the intersection.
The goal of this law is to prevent traffic backups from intensifying. Even when the light turns green, traffic in the other direction is halted when a vehicle crosses a junction but does not have enough room to continue. While it’s considered horrible driving etiquette, it’s been banned in California for decades.
What About Turning Vehicles?
Drivers doing u-turns at intersections are likewise subject to the anti-gridlock regulations. It is still your duty to make sure there is enough room on the cross street before making a turn, even with a flashing yellow light.
When turning left, you also need to be careful of other cars that observe the anti-gridlock regulation. If you are turning and incoming traffic is stopped, ensure that they are halted due to the lights and not because they observe the anti-gridlock law.
A typical source of accidents is persons turning while incorrectly assuming that they are in the right, and then the cars in the other way proceeding straight because space has cleared out for them.
On What Roads Do the Anti-Gridlock Law Apply?
All roadways and pedestrian crosswalks in California are subject to the anti-gridlock statute. It doesn’t matter if you don’t see a sign reminding you to abide by the anti-gridlock rule; it’s a state law that has been in effect for decades.
Although there may be no traffic signal or stop sign at a minor crossroads, it is still necessary to maintain spatial awareness. Railroad crossings are included in the scope of the anti-gridlock statute.
You may not cross a railway track unless there is adequate space on the opposite side for your vehicle to go, leaving enough room for any train car to pass behind you. This execution of the legislation is crucial not just for preventing traffic but for vehicular safety.
An incoming train may not have enough clearance to brake if there is an automobile obstructing the rails. When the railway crossing ramps fall down, being stranded on the tracks may be deadly.
That is why the costs for obstructing a railway crossing are greater than the penalty for breaching the law on an ordinary roadway. Private driveways, on the other hand, are exempt from the anti-gridlock rule.
Enforcement of Anti-Gridlock Legislation
The anti-gridlock statute applies to all crossroads in the state of California, regardless of their size or any posted sign reminding vehicles of the rule. There is no guarantee that you won’t get a gridlock penalty even if you don’t see any traffic cops.
Many cities have placed traffic cameras at major crossings, and you may have an unpleasant surprise mailed to your home. The base penalty for breaking the Anti-Gridlock Act is a fine of $285.
Suppose, however, sign warning drivers to avoid the crossroads was placed there. This is a more serious offence since the driver is also believed to have violated another traffic sign.
The charge will be greater and you may possibly lose points on your licence. If you think that you were handed a ticket unjustly, you can appeal the citation in court or with a written declaration. Again, the advice of a traffic ticket lawyer might help you establish your case.
The California Anti-Gridlock Act
In California, you have to be extra cautious when crossing a busy crossroads. A state anti-gridlock statute can get you penalised for failing to give yourself adequate room to let pedestrians cross the roadway or cross the crosswalk.
Even though there is no visible notice warning you of the prohibition, traffic light, or traffic officer to issue a citation, you might still receive a ticket mailed to your home.