Roadshow: One-handed driver irks wife

Q For the past several months, my husband has started driving with only his left hand on the wheel. The right hand is on his lap or on the shift gear. He also has been making turns with only one hand. I keep telling him to put both hands on the wheel, only to see him not do it again, after a stop. He doesn’t like hearing me say it, so sometimes I just point at the wheel to remind him.

Rules of the road distinctly say “hands” when referring to people driving. I have noticed that other people also do this type of wheel-holding. What’s this all about? Other than drive myself or go in two cars, do you have any suggestions?

No name, please

A Oh, man, this hits home. Mrs. Roadshow frequently has chided me for the same thing. The law says you must have the vehicle “under control” and this means having at least one hand on the wheel at all times. But for the sake of your relationship, your husband would be wise to place two hands on the steering wheel.

Q O God of the asphalt jungle, please settle this ongoing dispute with my wife and at least one CHP officer. Every time we visit Costco or Walmart in Gilroy, I stop at the red traffic signals in the right-turn lane from southbound Camino Arroyo to west Highway 152 at the corner behind Best Buy.

There are red signal lights on BOTH sides of the right-turn lane that operate separately from the red lights for through traffic. My wife says that since they placed the white vertical lane delineators on 152 after the right turn, that this has become a “free right turn lane.” She gets mad at me for refusing to turn on the red, as do the honking drivers behind me.

One day a CHP cruiser was behind me when I stopped. He didn’t like the fact that I stopped and waited at the red light, and he started to honk at me and wave his hands to go. He wasn’t on a call, because he turned into the nearby Wendy’s.

My wife and I started arguing again. We made a bet that many CHP officers make an illegal turn against the red. The winner gets a 30-minute back rub!

The next day, we went back and saw four CHP and two Gilroy police cruisers, one paramedic, one Caltrans truck and more than 200 civilians make a right turn against the red during the course of 90 minutes.

My wife says that a right turn is allowed after stopping. I say that because there are red traffic signals on BOTH sides of the lane, intending to control the flow from this lane entering 152, no right turn is permitted until the signal is green.

Who is right?

S. Bernstein

A She is. Henry-the-Gilroy-Traffic-Man says motorists should stop on red, yield to pedestrians and oncoming traffic, then proceed when safe to do so.

However, this is not a free right turn. That’s when there is no traffic signal on the right side of the turn, allowing drivers to treat it as if there were a yield sign there. Then there’s no need to stop if there’s no oncoming traffic. If there is a signal on the right side, as is the case here, drivers need to come to a full stop, then can turn right on red if safe to do so.

Q When there is an intersection with a dedicated right-turn lane but that lane is temporarily closed because of construction, stalled car or accident, is it legal to turn right on green from the right-most open lane? I think you can. My husband is not so sure.

Marty Ritchey

A You are correct, since that is the only available lane from which you can turn right.

Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow, follow him at Twitter.com/mrroadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.