Traffic is so weird.

I'm not sure if it's just a Maine thing, or if it's something that happens everywhere, but I feel like a lot of Maine drivers take a lot of liberties as far as their interpretation of the given traffic laws. For instance, it seems that here in the Pine Tree State, the speed limit signs are just a vague suggestion.

For some, that means going waaaayyyy over the speed limit, and for others, it would seem it means you always need to go at least 5 mph under the designated speed. Given the choice, I'd rather be behind someone going faster than slower. More often than not though, the universe has other plans for how fast I get to drive.

What about the good old right turn on red?

There's one particular intersection in Bangor that seems to stretch the definition of what's a legal right turn. At the point where Union Street, Hammond Street, and 4th Street all meet, you can take a right on red, onto 4th Street, no problem.

But often, you see people make a "soft" right all the way over onto Union Street. to me, I always thought turning right onto Union Street from Hammond was a pretty broad interpretation of the law, but what do I know?

Google Street View
Google Street View

Is it a right on red? Yes. But is it legal?

I swapped a message or two with Sgt. Jason McAmbley, Public Information Officer with the Bangor Police Department, for some clarity on the issue. First, he shared the actual law on the books with me. You can read that yourself right here. Here was his interpretation of the law in context to this particular intersection.

...I would argue the turn in question is permissible under the law the way it is written. It doesn’t give the degree to which a vehicle must turn towards the right to be making a right turn. Only signage specifically prohibiting the turn would make it illegal, in my opinion.

Given there aren't people crossing the street, or as long as they're yielded to, and that there are no signs indicating otherwise, you're good to make that soft right all the way onto Union Street. He was also quick to point out that another officer may interpret this situation differently. Again, a lot would depend on context. But for conversation's sake... Make the turn.

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