Q: Left Turns & Yellow Arrows

(Last Updated On: September 25, 2016)

Comment: Hi, one of mine friends failed his road test yesterday. His road test had no markings at all but examiner marked one thing as a violation and made him fail. 
There was intersection with a special left turn and he was in special left turn lane to turn left, he left the stop line but was exactly on the pedestrian cross walk which means he has left the stop line but did not enter into the intersection, but was blocking the cross walk, and at this time the green arrow changed to yellow arrow, and he decided to move as he thought this he has passed the stop line and he don’t want to block the pedestrian cross walk either.

But the examiner failed him with the written comments that “entered intersection @ amber from a stop”
So what do you think should he have stopped on the pedestrian stop line then? But what after yellow arrow light goes directly to red and other side green which means he is now blocking the pedestrian way? As per us we read in the book that if we passed the stop line upon change in traffic light then we can proceed?

g

 

Hi, Here’s what the law says about yellow arrows:

(2) When a yellow arrow is exhibited at an intersection by a traffic control signal,

(a) the driver of a vehicle approaching the intersection and facing a yellow arrow must cause the vehicle to stop

(i) before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or

(ii) before entering the intersection, if there is no marked crosswalk,

unless the stop cannot be made in safety,

(b) the driver of a motor vehicle approaching the intersection and facing the yellow arrow may, when a stop cannot be made in safety, proceed with caution to make the only movement indicated by the arrow but must yield the right of way to pedestrians lawfully in the intersection or in an adjacent crosswalk, and to other vehicles lawfully in the intersection,

On stopping on a crosswalk:

When vehicle stopping prohibited

189(1) Except when necessary to avoid conflict with traffic or to comply with the law or the directions of a peace officer or traffic control device, a person must not stop, stand or park a vehicle as follows:

(e) on a crosswalk;

I think the trick is to pretty much never stop on top of the crosswalk because that is an awkward place to be due to the fact that it’s illegal to reverse once you’ve stopped there, and you’re not really allowed to move forward once the arrow goes yellow from that point because you aren’t yet considered to be inside the intersection. 

Caution in backing vehicle

193  The driver of a vehicle must not cause the vehicle to move backwards into an intersection or over a crosswalk, and must not in any event or at any place cause a vehicle to move backwards unless the movement can be made in safety.

So next time I would recommend to stop behind the line if the light has gone yellow – as long as this can be done safely – and if it can’t, and you’re past the point of no return, then you simply complete your turn. So pick one: stop behind the line, or keep going, but try not to stop directly on the crosswalk. However, if you find your vehicle stopped on top of the crosswalk one day, this isn’t what you wanted obviously, but this also isn’t the end of the world. Or sometimes people aren’t sure what to do when it goes yellow and they decide to stop but their front bumper or their car is just a bit on the crosswalk. Sometimes this is still safer than proceeding (when they know they could have stopped safely before the intersection). If that happens, it’s better just to stay there and apologize to the pedestrians rather than to back up (which is illegal and could be dangerous) or move forward (which could be illegal and dangerous). It sounds like your friend was completely stopped here, and then started moving forward after the light went yellow, which isn’t good, and what the examiner didn’t like. I am not an examiner and am kind of rusty on the particulars but I think that if your friend had stayed stopped in that position rather than moving forward against the traffic control device, this would not have resulted in a fail, but would have been just a general ‘mark’ for stopping on a crosswalk.

I guess this goes for any yellow light. You have to stop, or keep going if you’re past the point of no return, but it’s not generally good to pick the 50/50, “a bit of both” option. Does that make sense?

Many moons ago, Carmen became an ICBC-approved driving instructor at the age of 22 in North Vancouver, and has spent many years working with new and experienced drivers around the lower mainland. She can be found reading the Motor Vehicle Act for fun while receiving strange looks from others. May the quest for great driving continue!

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  • lali dhillon

    Actually one thing I would like to clear here is that my friend was not stopped at the pedestrian cross walk when the arrow changed to yellow. he was driving (in motion) as the arrow was green before, he was continue in his move and when he was on top of the pedestrian cross walk (still in motion) the arrow turns to yellow. so which means he was continue in moving status till arrow changed to yellow so when he saw himself on top of the pedestrian cross walk and arrow in yellow he decided not to block the pedestrian cross walk and continue to complete the turn, so from you answer what I got is that in this case if he would have stopped at the pedestrian cross walk then it would be the better choice because he could have general negative marking but not failed in his road test, right?

    • Hi! It’s kind of impossible for me to say what happened since I wasn’t there. All I know is you told me the examiner wrote he moved from a stop, but you said he was still moving, so I’m not sure what really happened. How fast was he going? How close was he to the car in front of him? Did he know that the light was stale and was anticipating? All these things matter!! When driving, we should be able to normally make a decision when the light goes yellow of stopping behind the line or continuing if we’re past the point of no return.. it shouldn’t really be an issue that you’re stopping on top of the crosswalk for a left turn because usually you can consciously avoid this.. Knowing if the light is fresh or stale, keeping a proper distance from the car in front, being aware of your speed, being aware if the light is about to go yellow being ready to stop, etc. I hope that makes sense?