Here’s a question from a reader:

If there is an accident in the “slow” lane during commute hours, can you use the carpool lane to avoid the accident? Can the CHP ticket you for this? This scenario recently happened on the Cotati Grade, it was a major accident. Sue

The answer comes from CHP Officer Jon Sloat, spokesman for the Sonoma County office:

You can use the carpool lane if directed by a few ways: An officer at the scene, Caltrans message signs or alerted by public service announcement, via radio, Titter, Nixel or other method.


Another question:

Perhaps you have been asked this already, but what is the law when making a right onto the Highway 12 onramp from Brookwood when the light is red. Many folks get impatient and honk, but you have to cross Bennett Valley Road to enter that onramp in Santa Rosa. Caryn

The answer comes from Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Lance Badger, who helps supervise the city’s traffic officers. He said you can make the turn IF traffic is clear and it’s safe to do so.


Another question:

Who has the right of way on Highway 12 and Jack London:  Heading east and making a U-turn to head west; only stop signs are Jack London; traffic is clear on Highway 12, one car wanting to make the U-turn and another car stops at the stop sign. Chris

The answer also comes from Badger, who says the right of way goes to the traffic without a stop sign. So in this case, the person making the U-turn.


Another question:

Is it legal to use the carpool lanes if there is a sign that states end of carpool and after the next sign there are still diamonds painted on the road? This example is coming from 101 northbound in Novato where the carpool lane ends and where the road construction begins. There is about 2 miles of road that has diamonds painted on it after the end of carpool-lane sign. D

The answer comes from CHP Officer Eric Hohmeister of the Marin County office, who says you should stay out of the carpool lane. He says he was unaware of the conflicting message of the sign and painted diamonds, but to be safe and to avoid a possible ticket, obey the diamonds and only use the lane if you qualify as a carpool.


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