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gasman's avatar

Driving quiz: Making a left turn...

Asked by gasman (11315points) August 25th, 2011

You are the first vehicle to pull up and stop at an intersection controlled by a traffic light, which is currently red. There is no left turn lane or separate left turn signal. When the light turns green you:

(A) Remain at the stop line and don’t move until traffic is clear, then make the left turn.

(B) Proceed toward the center of the intersection and stop again, wait until traffic is clear, then complete the left turn.

- – - – - -
B is how I drive, how I was taught to drive, and arguably most sensible way to drive for a variety of reasons. But A is what I see drivers do increasingly often. What’s changed?

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11 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Depends on the traffic. Usually I crawl forward out into the intersection, but never if someone is already out there ahead of me.

Allie's avatar

Definitely B, especially in my town. Usually there’s a stream of traffic coming and you have to wait to go on a yellow/red anyway. If you’re not a B driver, you’ll never leave the lane and get on your way.

gondwanalon's avatar

B, but I like to try to maintain a very slow roll out into the middle of the intersection. If traffic does not clear and cars keep coming through the yellow, then the red is MINE!

gasman's avatar

@gondwanalon & @Allie: Yes—if the light turns from yellow to red, cross-traffic that now has green still has to yield to vehicles caught in the intersection, which includes you. In heavy traffic, therefore, at least one vehicle will get through per cycle. The other way everybody might wait forever…

woodcutter's avatar

Plan B. However I try hard to avoid those intersections since I started driving something I care about.

john65pennington's avatar

Anytime you are making a turn, right or left, you must yield to the oncoming traffic. The traffic going straight ahead, always has the right a way.

JLeslie's avatar

@john65pennington That wasn’t the question.

jerv's avatar

B is also how I drive.

However, here in Seattle, it is uncommon as most drivers are either timid enough to stay stopped at a green left arrow if there is a car stopped on the opposite side of the intersection or solipsistic enough to honestly believe that other cars don’t exist. That leads to more A and more near-misses.

@john65pennington There is what the lawbooks say, and there is what the actual rules of the road are.

augustlan's avatar

It depends on the intersection. There are a few that I travel frequently that are so small (for lack of a better word) that sitting in the middle of the intersection is an accident waiting to happen. Most often, though, I’m going with plan B.

jca's avatar


Two reasons – to get out of the way for the car behind me if they want to go straight. Also so I am in the intersection if the light turns red, I can shoot through.

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