When it’s Not Okay to Go on Green in Twin Falls Idaho
Before we start, let me get this out of the way quickly. This isn’t a rant and I’m not the least bit angry. I just happened to witness something in traffic that convinced me that as Twin Falls continues to grow, we might benefit from rethinking some of our driving habits.
Last week there was an accident near the Perrine Bridge during early evening drive time. The accident impacted north and southbound commuters, backing up traffic all the way from the bridge to the intersection at Pole Line and Blue Lakes. Unfortunately, these things happen and there’s nothing you can do but pray those involved are okay and wait it out.
Here’s where the problem got bigger
I was traveling north on Blue Lakes when I saw the traffic jam ahead, prompting me to move to the inside left turn lane so I could turn west onto Pole Line and avoid the whole mess… or so I thought.
Enter east-bound traffic from Pole Line onto Blue Lakes heading north.
Every time the light changed, drivers turning onto Blue Lakes from Pole Line chose to enter the intersection, despite the fact that traffic was clearly blocked. When their light turned red, they wound up trapped in the middle of the intersection.
Selfish drivers were only making the situation worse
When the light turned green for drivers attempting to enter Pole Line, traffic heading east and west was effectively stopped by cars and trucks parked in the intersection. Because people who had no chance of passing through the intersection continued to automatically go on the green light, what began as a north/south traffic jam grew into a losing situation in all directions.
Green doesn't always mean go
The statute on this is simple in Idaho and other states. If a light is green, you may proceed only if it is safe to do so, and you are not allowed to proceed on green unless there is sufficient room for your entire vehicle on the other side. You might see a green light, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an automatic go. Here’s a link to Section 49-614 of Idaho State Statues if you want to read the entire thing.
Cue the keyboard warriors
I hear you if you want to call me a Karen for even bringing this up. The good news is that no one was seriously harmed in the incident, and I'm relieved that a 30-minute inconvenience was the worst of it. I found it worth mentioning because I see this happening more and more due to the vast number of cars on the road now compared to 20 years ago. Accident or no, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen a car stuck in an intersection because they weren’t looking beyond the green light in front of them.