Q: I’ve read that if a green arrow is shown with a red light, you can go in the direction of the arrow if the way is clear. I haven’t come across this red-light-and-green-arrow situation yet while driving, and I’m unsure if you’re supposed to stop before turning in the direction of the green arrow, or if you can just go through. I’m thinking you can just go through…some pictures on Google Images seem to suggest that you can…but I wonder if that’s generally the way it works.

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This is actually a good question as I’ve heard a few stories of new drivers who stopped when they shouldn’t have and were rear-ended by the vehicle behind them; apparently because the new driver was confused as to which traffic light was his/hers.

Normally if you are facing a green arrow you may simply turn in the direction of the arrow as long as you’re in the appropriate lane (make sure you Scan the Intersection first). You do not have to stop first (please don’t!) If you’re not in the turning lane, then you must stop and wait for the red light to go green before you can proceed.

A tip for figuring out which lane is yours: when you’re approaching any intersection do not be overwhelmed by all the shiny traffic lights! It is good to get the big picture and figure out what’s going on in the entire intersection whenever possible. But if you are simply trying to figure out which light is for you, then start by looking for appropriate signs hanging above the intersection:

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Also, if you look straight ahead (or straight ahead on whatever angle you are on) there should be a traffic light with your name on it. OK, it won’t actually have your name on it. But is it just me or is there often a traffic light straight ahead of each individual lane? I know this is not always the case, but it should help you to get an idea.

Hmmm, 4 lanes & 4 traffic lights.

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Hmm, 2 lanes and 2 traffic lights.

RedGreenforBlog

Hmm

Hmm

Hope that makes some kind of sense.