Video Demonstration for Drivers: When You Exit The Intersection on Yellow/Red Light


Rant on Exiting Intersections on Yellow/Red (for new drivers)

Of course this is just ONE MERE example of leaving the intersection on a left turn. I will have to do a more complete video in the near future. It is very subtle, but you can notice how the left turning vehicle starts moving towards the turn even when it’s not 100% obvious that the right-turning car is planning to stop. If need be, either or both cars could still then slow or stop to prevent a collision. By starting to move, it sends a hopefully clear signal to the other driver that you are very serious about completing your turn very soon.



What New Drivers Should Know About Exiting Intersections on a Yellow or Red Light

Q: I just failed my N road test because my instructor said I was not going the speed limit of 50km/h. I was maintaining speed of 45-48 on city roads because it was rush hour and there was alot of traffic. He also said I got a violation for being in an intersection on a red light. I was turning left so I entered the intersection on a green and waited for a good sized gap to turn but there were lots of cars turning right so I had to wait for them to merge as it was a single lane road I was turning on to. As I was waiting the light turned red and cars were still turning right so I was stuck until I had room to merge. I thought I am legally allowed to finish my turn when SAFE? And its legal to be within 5km/hr of the speed limit right? I don’t think I was failed for legit reasons, is there any way to contest it?





I’m not sure about the speed, the appropriate speed depends on so many things; some examiners are more picky than others. I would think 45-48 would be close enough. I guess it’s better to go 50 km/hr or 49 km/hr if conditions are good. 


By all means, never turn left until you know for sure that it is safe to go. Turning left is one of the most dangerous things we do as drivers. However, there are some things new drivers should be aware of. 


When the light first went yellow and then red where was your car? Was it still in the exact same spot, not moving at all? This is a difficult situation because those right turning cars are facing the same yellow/red light as you and legally they are supposed to be stopping before the intersection once the light is yellow (unless they are past their point of no return), allowing you to leave. However they have bad habits and will happily turn anyway, especially if it looks like the driver of the left turning car doesn’t really want to turn left too badly and is fine sitting in the middle of the intersection for almost forever.


If there are still many right turning cars trying to happily turn after the light has gone yellow or especially red, that is when you need to start leaving the intersection anyway; at least get the car moving forward, at the very least take your foot off the brake and put it towards the gas pedal, and Do either honk at the right turning car that is obviously not supposed to be turning at that moment, and/or start turning and turn after the last right-turning car whenever it is safe. In that case it’s Okay to start rolling towards your turn, as long as it’s obvious those cars are turning right and not going straight. But you do not want to stay completely stopped inside the intersection. In large intersections the other traffic facing the green light would then start to go in certain cases and this would leave you in a dangerous spot. Not to mention like I said about the right turing cars, they might think you’re day dreaming so it’s Ok for them to turn before you. You gotta show them that you seriously want to turn left.


Here is a similar idea. Say you drive down the road going 15 km/hr on a 50 km/hr zone main road and there is no reason to do that. All of the oncoming cars that want to turn left are going to turn in front of you, because you’re going to slowly, so that’s fine right? They can probably turn quite close to you and it will still be safe, because of your slow speed. Imagine the same road, and you’re driving 70 km/hr. Cars turning left will see this car coming and they won’t turn in front of it; there’s not enough time/space. It’s kind of like that. If the right turn cars see you sitting there completely stopped, it seems fine for them to go, because there’s still a lot of space between the vehicles, and the left turn car looks like it’s basically hibernating inside the intersection. However if they see you getting ready to book it the hell out of there, they will likely stop, because deep down, they know that they’re supposed to and they just were going to still turn IF they could get away with it. No, they aren’t supposed to be driving like this. It makes for  a slightly hostile learning environment for new drivers. How many people reading this have been guilty of turning right on a yellow/red light, just because you could see that it was still ‘safe,’ and there were no left turning cars, despite the fact that this is illegal?


The same goes for pedestrians who are happily BEGINNING to cross the crosswalk right when the light goes yellow/red and you’re turning left. They have no right to be there at that moment, that is your moment to leave the intersection. So similarly in that case if I was driving I would start my turn, honk the horn, and then turn after they are out of the way; and I believe that’s what they want to see on the road test as well. (This is called being ASSERTIVE……. not AGGRESSIVE!)




Driving Laws: All You Need to Know About Emerging from a Lane, Parking Lot, or Driveway

Question : Hi, I am not sure if I understand this tip:

Did you know that you’re supposed to stop completely and treat as you have a stop sign, before any sidewalk? like when exiting a parking lot, lane (back alley) or driveway? This may cover the part where you leave the parking lot at the beginning of the road test. Read more here.

So I must stop always when crossing the sidewalk? Even when coming to a parking lot from a main road? It just does not feel right…


You’re right and I’m sorry for my sloppy wording. Of course no one is going to stop before turning into a parking lot if there are no pedestrians anywhere to be seen for miles, and ICBC nor any person in their right mind would expect you to do this either.

However, when exiting a parking lot/lane it is written in the motor vehicle act that vehicles must stop, and this is probably because when you turn into a parking lot you are turning right/left and you have somewhat decent visibility of where you’re about to go in terms of pedestrian traffic.

However when coming out of parking lots you have often very poor visibility of the immediate area (i.e. sidewalk/ or area there may be pedestrians and cyclists before vehicles) that your car is about to cross especially if there are shrubs/trees/bushes/ or anything else that blocks your visibility (fences, brick walls,..):

Emerging from alleys MVA

176 (1) The driver of a vehicle in a business or residence district and emerging from an alley, driveway, building or private road must stop the vehicle immediately before driving onto the sidewalk or the sidewalk area extending across an alleyway or private driveway, and must yield the right of way to a pedestrian on the sidewalk or sidewalk area.


(2) The driver of a vehicle about to enter or cross a highway from an alley, lane, driveway, building or private road must yield the right of way to traffic approaching on the highway so closely that it constitutes an immediate hazard.



This is what you should see inside your mind:



Thank you and be assured the original wording will be amended.






BC Laws: Modified ‘Slow Down & Move Over’ Law In Effect January 1, 15

A reminder to drivers that effective January 1, 2015 the updated Slow Down & Move Over law will come into effect.

This means drivers are legally required to move over to another lane if available and slow their vehicle whenever vehicles flashing a red, blue, or yellow/amber light are on the road. This is to protect emergency and roadside workers of many types. The new law has been amended to include garbage collectors, animal control, land surveyors, road maintenance workers, utility workers, as well as police, fire, ambulance crews, tow trucks, commercial vehicle safety enforcement vehicles, park rangers, and conservation officers.

Since 2001, almost 50 emergency workers have been killed or seriously injured while helping people on BC’s roads. 

When a driver is approaching or passing a stopped emergency vehicle with flashing lights on a roadway, the BC Motor Vehicle Act Regulations requires drivers traveling in both directions to:

Drive at no more than 70 km/h where speed limit is 80 km/h or more
Drive at no more than 40 km/h where speed limit is less than 80 km/h

In addition, while driving on a multi-lane road, drivers also need to switch to another lane to allow an official vehicle safe and quick passage.

Under the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act Regulations, those caught in violation could be subject to a $173 fine and three point penalty in their driving record. Criminal Code charges are also possible if the incident is serious.



Basic Right or Left Turns NOT Awesome!? How to Stop Cutting Corners and Turning Wide

Question on ‘Not Wide Enough’ Turns

Q: I recently failed my driving test, one of the things I did badly was turning left at a 90 degree angle. The examiner wrote “your turns are not wide enough” so does that mean I turned too early? If so, how do I know when I should start turning my wheel and how much? Should I drive a little bit before I start my turns? Would love your advice. 


What Does ‘Cutting Corners’ Mean?


Yes, if your turns are ‘not wide enough’ it means that you possibly ‘cut the corner’ or did not move far enough forward into the intersection before starting to turn the wheel

So your car was touching parts of the pavement that are generally frowned upon in relation to the direction you were travelling at that moment, if you know what I mean. 😉


Here is a car ‘cutting the corner’ :



Something like this:




Turning Too Wide


Here is a wide turn. This is wide, very wide, way too wide! (Unless you’re driving a semi-truck or other large vehicle, and by large vehicle no I do not mean your SUV!!) 😛




Trucks Kind of Have To Turn Wide


Keep in mind large trucks do need to turn wide (especially when turning right) otherwise they will not be able to complete their turn without hitting stuff.




 Why do turns look like this?


*I’m entering my deep Philosophical mode:


  • There could be many reasons why people cut the corner or turn wide. Sometimes people do it on purpose, but that’s another story.
  • New drivers: Are new at driving, so they haven’t yet learned how to do a proper turn, especially if no one has taught them how. Specifically your turn might be wide or you might cut the corner if :
  • You aren’t looking where you are going while turning. For example, many new drivers when they’re turning left, instead of looking at where they’re going while they’re turning, they’re still looking at some oncoming traffic that is down the road. If you’ve decided to turn, then you’ve decided it’s safe to turn in front of that traffic; so what’s the point in staring at it anymore? It’s not like you can turn half way and then press pause and reevaluate your decision…!! So essentially you aim your car where you look. If you’re still looking at the oncoming traffic while turning left, then your car will tend to aim towards the oncoming traffic, leading to a wide turn; as oppose to simply making a safe decision to turn when you see a safe gap in that traffic, and then looking where you actually want the car to go and then going there.
  • You turn the steering wheel too soon – before your car has reached an appropriate part of the intersection/road (cutting the corner). If you do this on a right turn you run the risk of hitting the curb. Sometimes it seems like new drivers forget that their car has 4 wheels; the front 1/2 of the car makes it around the corner but the rear wheels don’t exactly, and might hop the curb. If you do this on a left turn it means your car is travelling over a section of the wrong side of the road, which could obviously be dangerous if there is traffic coming there.
  • You turn the steering wheel too late – after your car has already gone too far past the point where you should have turned the wheel (wide turn).  If you do turn the steering wheel ‘too late,’ then you often have no choice but to then turn the steering an additional amount – and thus of course having to un-steer it that amount on top of the required amount –  in order to make it around the corner without ending up (or staying) on the wrong side of the road. This is a ton of extra and unnecessary work!!  Driving should not be that much work.
  • You turn the steering wheel not enough  / not the correct amount 
  • You have issues with your vehicle speed relative to your ‘steering speed.’ If your car is going so fast that you don’t leave yourself time to turn the wheel enough, then that’s not going to work. This is one of the reasons why we recommend to slow to 20 km/hr before turning, no matter what the circumstance.
  • Likewise, if you’re so new at driving and your car is going very slowly, then you’ll also need to turn the steering wheel perhaps more slowly. If you get all the steering done when the car is stopped, that might not work because you might have turned it too early or not at the precisely correct time. This is why it’s much easier to turn corners while your vehicle is moving slowly, but not too slowly. If you do want to practice as a snail, then you may need to turn the wheel in a more slow motion manner in order to make it work.
  • So you see, I just made turning a corner sound a lot like rocket science! This is not easy!! Even though, it would seem like one of the easiest driving maneuvers, it’s actually one of the most difficult to learn, and to teach. But, once you’ve got it then you can continue learning and everything else should be relatively easy to learn because you have this very important foundation.
  • If all else fails and you’ve been trying so hard on your turns and they just aren’t working.. this will sound strange but simply stop trying for a while. Just look where you want to go and forget the rest. Sometimes this works well!


Proper Turns


  • Turning corners seems like a simple thing to do but it’s one of the most difficult for new drivers to learn
  • It’s difficult for people to teach as well because experienced drivers ‘just do it,’ they don’t even know what they’re doing to a point they could explain it to someone else
  • Not sure I have the best way of explaining it, but will try
  • Anyway, keep practicing the turning
  • They get better if you keep working on them
  • When you are planning a turn, you should always check out where your car is going to end up after you turn
  • This is one of the first things you should do every time
  • This alone will help with the problem
  • (Of course you want to do this anyway for other reasons, like ensuring there is actually a space for your vehicle to fit once you turn i.e. it’s not backed up with traffic or there is an accident there.)


Where exactly is your car going to go, anyway?




There are so many different sizes of intersections with different amounts of lanes, different widths and different features; and it is always important to check and see where you are going.




What is the ‘Proper Amount’ to pull forward?


Well this is a bit hard to explain, but the thing to remember is you don’t want to pull forward ‘not enough’ and cut the corner, but you also don’t want to pull forward too far and do one of those funky wide turns either.


You want to pull forward enough that :


  • you have a short and efficient turn into your new lane, with the minimum amount of steering as possible (why do extra work??) 


  • and you also have to think about not pulling in so far that you’re getting in the way of an opposing left-turning vehicle when turning left, 


Picture 3’s


Good things come in 3’s


For left turns, generally I would recommend to chop the road into 3 chunks inside your imagination and pull forward about 1/3rd, so your front bumper is roughly up to the 1/3 area.

It doesn’t have to be exactly perfect, you don’t have to get out your measuring tape and measure it or anything like that, but roughly around this area will set you up nicely for a good turn.


Left Turn:







If you pull forward roughly this amount and the car facing you does as well, then you will both have enough room to complete your left turns simultaneously (if that is safe/possible which it sometimes is) or without otherwise getting all up in each other’s business.





  • The other insanely important thing about doing turns is to Look where you want to go!! Have I already mentioned this?! 😉 
  • This may sound obvious. Like look where you wanna go? Yeah?! Duhh! But believe it or not a lot of new drivers are still looking at other things while they are turning. They are not actually looking in the direction their car is going, or where they would like their car to go.
  • The trick is to do any kind of checks, observations, or looking for pedestrians and oncoming traffic before you turn. Once you have made that decision that you’re going to turn, then you must look where you want the car to go and then magically go there.
  • Do keep your eyes moving while driving. But for sure look far ahead at where you want to go while turning. Remember that you can still see the other cars in the corner of your eye.. there is no need to stare at them! A lot of new drivers are nervous about running into parked vehicles when they’re turning left. However, if in the middle of your turn you decide to stare at the parked vehicle, then you will probably drive right into it. Just an FYI !! Remember that parked cars are parked, right? They will probably not jump out at you while you go past. You can still see them in the corner of your eye, so look ahead, far, far, far, far ahead at where you would like your car to go. How many intersections can you see up ahead?? How many traffic lights/stop signs can you see up ahead?? This is the kind of the kind of thing to ask yourself as a reminder to keep your eyes ‘up,’ where they belong!




In terms of steering, this can be the other problem if a new driver hasn’t learned proper steering techniques and the proper amount required for a regular left or right turn.

Check out the following video of the very snazzy driving instructor Eric, and notice how much he turns the wheel for each turn. This is hugely important.


3 Steps to a good turn


  • He turns it a certain amount in the beginning of the turn (not a full circle of the wheel, usually about 3/4 of a full rotation)
  • then he holds the wheel there and simply does nothing while the car turns, (It is hard for student drivers to ‘do nothing’ as it’s easy to think that you should always be doing something!! This is not the case!!
  • and then he slowly un-winds the wheel while looking far ahead of course.








Hope that helps!


If you’re still looking for more information about stop sign intersections, basic driving techniques and rules, check out my eBook for drivers here:


Thanks for the Q Malia 🙂


How to turn left at traffic lights

Cutting the corner on DriveSmartBC