General Question

Les's avatar

Do you pull into the intersection to make a left hand turn? (US turning)

Asked by Les (10005points) May 5th, 2008

I have gotten into plenty of arguments about how to do a left hand turn. When the light turns green, do you pull into the intersection (even if you have to wait there for a few seconds before turning), or do you wait at the stop line until it is clear to turn? I have been taught to pull into the intersection, and that is how everyone seems to do it in the “big city”, but around these parts (Wyoming), no one seems to do this. Some people will actually sit there, and then wait a whole light cycle without ever turning. It drives me bonkers.

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17 Answers

Les's avatar

And just as another piece of information, looking back in my “Drivers ed” book, pulling into the intersection is what is taught. So this seems to be something that is the correct thing to do, not just something everyone does, so I’ll do it too.

robmandu's avatar

I know the answer to this one! (at least for my town)

That is an illegal maneuver. The reason why you do it is so you can beat the red light by being out in the intersection AND so you can squirt through the heavy traffic moving in the opposite direction.

But, here’s the thing, vehicles are supposed to move through an intersection, not stop (or stand) in it.

Nevertheless, I do exactly that every single day. :-P

paulc's avatar

In my city (Edmonton, Canada) I think its legal to pull out into the intersection – I’ve seen police do it (though that isn’t always a good measure of legality it seems). However, you shouldn’t turn your wheel in preparation to turn when you do that. If you get rear-ended it’ll push you into on-coming traffic and that’s bad. Only turn your wheel as your actually making your turn when the coast is clear.

Les's avatar

Yeah, this is interesting. I see what you’re saying about the “beating the red light”, and I have heard people say that if you do this you are in the way in case an emergency vehicle has to come through. I don’t think it is illegal everywhere, especially if it was in my driver’s ed book.

PupnTaco's avatar

Pull halfway into the intersection with your signal on. Do not turn until all traffic going through the intersection has cleared.

People where I live insist on turning in front of oncoming traffic, it drives me crazy.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I always pull into the intersection and wait until its clear to go. That way in case the light turns red before i can make the turn im already out in the intersection and free to turn.

Though here in South Jersey most major roads you cant make a left at intersections anyway and have to take the jug handle.

Les's avatar

@uberbatman: Uh… call me a crazy midwestern girl, but what is a jug handle?

El_Cadejo's avatar

haha i was waiting for that. Evidently they are only around here. This is a jughandle. They are actually quite a pain in the ass because you end up waiting for two lights instead of one.

Les's avatar

That. is. annoying. Actually, I think I have done that once or twice in Illinois. Thanks for the links!

scamp's avatar

@uberbatman Jughandles..ugh!! Next thing I know we will start talking about pork roll, ha ha!!

@Les it seems that city people are less patient than country people, so sitting in the intersection seems to be more of a city thing.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@scamp wait pork roll is only around here too?

Les's avatar

@scamp: I guess that’s true. But for me, it isn’t a patience thing. I do it because I was taught to do it that way. The way I see it, it puts you at the “ready” to make the turn. And, in the city, if you don’t take the advantages that are presented to you, you will never turn. In the country there isn’t the traffic that there is in the city. So people don’t need to worry about turning before the light changes, because they will eventually have the chance. Having said that, You probably are right in general: people are impatient.

scamp's avatar

@uberbatman yep It’s strictly a Jersey thing. It was invented by John Taylor in Trenton, also why the other name for it is Taylor Ham No one else knows what it is unless they have been here or knows someone from here.

@Les I know all about losing your chance by being too slow at a light. The traffic here is horrendous, and drivers are very aggressive. I’ve found that country people just don’t seem to be in as much of a hurry as city people are. That’s what I meant about impatience. I remember moving to a small country town, and going to the grocery store. Two little old ladies were blocking the aisle having a chat. I said “excuse me”. They nodded and smiled and continued their discussion. I said “excuse me” with a little more force. They smiled again, and said “we’ll be done here in just a minute honey.” And once again they resumed their conversation. It was then that I learned I would have to either walk to the next aisle, join in the conversation, or learn to be more patient, because there was no way they were going to hurry for me.

I just got used to the slower pace of living in that little town when I moved to New Jersey and had to pick up the speed or get run over!

El_Cadejo's avatar

@scamp wow awesome did not know that. Learn something new every day.^_^

scamp's avatar

I just read about it this past weekend in the Black River Journal

Les's avatar

@scamp: That’s funny, and oh, so true! Thanks for the comment. :-)

mikesands's avatar

Pull into the intersection keeping the wheels straight ahead and when the traffic has cleared, complete your turn. I learned this from two driver’s education books from the library. I got the books so I could teach a person from China some years ago. This argument seems to exist everywhere and some people are just plain afraid to pull into almost any intersection unless there is a green arrow and the person behind them toots their horn. Timid drivers.

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