Gregory Vipond of Rancho Cucamonga takes the 210 Freeway to work and asked a couple of questions about his commute.
First, during regular commuting hours, Vipond asked why the meter lights are not automatically turned on for all freeway on-ramps.
Second, he said it’s his understanding that semis, large trucks or tractor-trailers are not allowed to use the far left lane, but he says he sees them driving in all lanes on the freeway other than the carpool lane and wonders if this is legal.
Another reader, Ralph Tracy, asked the same question and requested that On the Road write more about what he called “the illegal use of lanes by big rig drivers on the Southern California freeways.” Tracy complained that this is a daily occurrence on the 10 Freeway by both out-of-state and in-state registered trucks.
We asked Caltrans about Vipond’s first question regarding the on-ramp meter lights and here’s what Caltrans District 8 Spokeswoman Joy M. Schneider said: “Our Traffic Operations Unit advises that all of our ramp meters operate in traffic responsive mode (they are triggered by the main line lanes congestion). They automatically adjust the discharge into the freeway proportionally to the congestion levels.” The meters do not respond instantly, she said, there is a” start-up and shut-down sequence that lasts a few minutes to avoid the ‘yoyo’ effect (on/off signals that create confusion for the motorists).”
As for Vipond’s second question (and our reader Ralph Tracy’s concern) about the semi trucks in the far left lane, if Vipond and Tracy are seeing these big rigs in the left lane on the freeway, the truck driver is breaking the law. It’s a possibility that some of the out-of-state truck drivers are not aware of California’s lane restrictions because such laws differ from state to state, but that’s no excuse. If you drive in another state, you have to follow their traffic laws.
We can assure both of our readers that we’ve addressed this issue many times previously in On the Road and the California Highway Patrol is aware of the problem.
Semis and trucks pulling a trailer are supposed to drive in the far-most right or outer lanes
It also depends on how many lanes the highway has. If it’s a four-lane freeway, semis must drive in the right two lanes except when passing. On a three-lane highway, they are restricted to the right lane but may pass in the No. 2 lane.
Again, we sympathize with our readers and as we’ve written before, CHP officers can’t be everywhere at all times. CHP officers say they have to prioritize accident calls and matters affecting public safety, but they do enforce this problem when officers see it.
Inland Empire freeways, especially the 10 and 60 freeways, frequently have heavy truck traffic because these freeways are major transportation arteries from large warehouses throughout the region to ports and major shipping hubs on the coast.
California Clean Air Day
On the Road would like to encourage our readers to support efforts to reduce air pollution by celebrating California Clean Air Day on Wednesday, Oct. 2. Visit https://cleanairday.org and take the pledge.
What can you do?
The Auto Club has some suggestions that affect your behavior on the road and reduce vehicle emissions, such as avoiding rush-hour traffic since stop-and-go driving burns more gas and increases pollution, and driving a fuel-efficient vehicle like a hybrid or electric vehicle. Or, drive less – walk, scooter and bike more.
You can also combine trips to reduce your time on the road, take public transportation, and drive slower since driving slower is better for your fuel economy.
In addition, you may not know that tire pressure and air filters also can affect your fuel economy, according to the Auto Club, which advises drivers to check their vehicles’ tire pressure and air filters.
The Clean Air Day website offers many more tips, such as avoid idling your engine and carpool or rideshare whenever possible. California Clean Air Day is a project of the Coalition for Clean Air.
One more year
Remember that a year from now — on Oct. 1, 2020 — people will need a REAL ID or federally approved document like a passport to board domestic flights or enter secure federal facilities and military bases. Visit the REAL ID webpage for specific information about the documents needed to get a REAL ID. Also, visit this link for Frequently Asked Questions.