Trestle drivers must be cautious

Merging onto southbound I-5 from the U.S. 2 trestle has become downright dangerous, says Suzan Jelinek of Snohomish.

In recent weeks she has seen two accidents and seen several other “close calls.”

“In my 27 years of traveling the trestle and I-5 I have never seen such disregard for citizen safety,” she said.

Something needs to be done to make this interchange safer, she said.

“There are lives being endangered daily,” she said.

DOT spokeswoman Connie Lewis the state has installed a concrete barrier along the ramp to give construction workers room to rebuild the interchange. The work is part of the ongoing bid to widen I-5 in north Everett.

More barrier was added last week, stretching farther back on the trestle and making drivers feel even more squeezed as they move through the area.

Warning signs and reader boards warn people to take it slow, she said. The barrier and the signs meet safety standards for construction sites, she said.

“As with any construction zone, drivers must slow down, think ahead and proceed with caution when they observe highway warning signs along the freeway or city streets,” she said.

The situation won’t change for six months, so drive carefully and be patient.

Turning left at a light

Question: I took drivers’ education in a different state back in the ’70s, so I’m wondering if I missed a meeting or if the law is different here in Washington.

When making a left turn at an intersection controlled by stop lights, I was always told to yield to oncoming traffic but to get out in the intersection to get ready to turn.

That way if there is not a break in the traffic you have the right of way when the oncoming traffic is stopped by the changing light and you can turn as the light turns red.

I’m wondering if the law is different here as almost daily I witness people sitting back behind the intersection and if there is no chance to turn, they wait until the light turns green again and then will stay back behind the line again waiting for a break.

I’ve sat behind cars for several cycles of the light before they finally turn.

I’ve even witnessed people pull into the intersection waiting to turn, and then if there is no chance, back up out of the intersection when the light turns red for them.

My son recently completed drivers’ education in high school and when we were talking about this he said it was never mentioned in his class, which is why I am wondering if the law is different.

Jeff Carter, Marysville

Answer: State law does not appear to address this situation directly.

Driving instructors in Washington typically instruct students to enter an intersection as described.

Pulling into an intersection during a left-hand turn can allow a driver to complete the turn when there is a safe gap in oncoming traffic and allow a turn when oncoming traffic yields for a signal change. This is a proper and commonly accepted practice.

However, there is one catch.

State law prohibits entering an intersection if there will not be enough space to get through when the signal changes. Getting stuck within an intersection when the signal changes is commonly referred to as “blocking the box,” and can result in a traffic citation.

Brad Benfield, spokesman for the state Department of Licensing

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