[quote=“MJB”]You might well know which red lights to “float” when in your local neighborhood, but when you are out on your roadtrip, how the hell would you know?[/quote]Good point. Close to home I’m fully aware of which lights fall into which category, real all the time, fake all the time or fake between the hours of x to y. As some have pointed out, many lights are in the most pointless places imaginable and you can only guess that the only reason they are there is graft. Someone got a nice hongbao out of it. It doesn’t take long to figure out which ones can be blown off and at what times, but I always slow down and make damn sure there are no approaching cars before I do it. Outside of my own turf I don’t run reds.
I think I have a pretty similar view about the law as the locals do. They are guidelines and they will usually only be used after an accident occurs to determine who was right and wrong. Unlike most of the locals I have my own set of guidelines to follow beyond, “I’m bigger/more important than you, so get out of my way.”
When I was taught to drive rule #1 was that you did nothing to force another road user to change speed or direction. You allow others to drive as if you weren’t there. I still try to stick to that one as much as possible. Do I turn right on reds? Do I speed? Damn right I do. I just try to bend the rules in such a way that I’m not affecting anyone else by doing so. In many situations I would break this rule if I drove like goody two-shoes and never broke the law. I never do u-turns on corners or 20m from an intersection, I never drive against traffic on a one-way street and I never double park. Rule #1 applies except when parking. I expect people to wait for 10 seconds while I park on a narrow street without getting on the horn and I will retaliate if honked at.
I think we’ve all seen situations where someone driving by the book has caused an accident and see that in many situations going with the flow would be safer. I’ve seen a lot of accidents caused by slow / careless drivers and the frustration they cause to other drivers. They dawdle along, hold up the flow of traffic until someone gets pissed off, overtakes aggressively, cutting them off to punish them, cutting into the motorcycle lane without looking, pulling into oncoming traffic without looking… So for example if the light is red and I’m in the right-turn lane, I’ll go with the flow and go on red if the cars in front are going and there are another dozen behind me waiting to turn. I weigh the risk to myself and the passing traffic if I make the turn against what the guy behind who’s honking and making faces may do if I make him sit there any longer.