Driving Question: Should I Pull Into the Intersection When I’m Turning Left?
Entering the Intersection on Green Lights
If you’re turning left on a Green Light, then Yes, you should pull into the intersection when you’re yielding to oncoming traffic and/or pedestrians. The only exception would be if there were no available space to turn into. This happens sometimes when the traffic is backed up on the other road. Or, sometimes there are issues on the road you’re about to turn into (a broken down car, construction , etc.)
Why pull forward?
This lines up your vehicle so that you have a short turn across traffic. There are also legal implications. When you enter the intersection on the green light, and then the light eventually changes to yellow or red, you’re allowed to exit the intersection.
You should turn only when it is safe, regardless of the colour of the traffic light. Since you entered the intersection when the light was green, you are legally allowed to leave the intersection whenever (and preferably as soon as, but not until) it is 110% safe to do so ; the light may be yellow by then, or it may be red, and that is Okay.
If you do not enter the intersection
If you don’t pull into the intersection when the light is green (i.e. you’re waiting behind the white stopping line), then legally you aren’t allowed to leave the intersection once the light goes yellow or red.
This is because traffic lights control traffic approaching intersections. Traffic lights do not control traffic that is already inside the intersection.
So if you don’t enter it – and the traffic is very busy – you might be there all day long. And that would be weird because the point of driving is to go places… not stay in the same place. ha ha
Or you will be breaking the law, and potentially being dangerous, by turning once the light is yellow from the incorrect position.
2- Way Stops
The same applies for a 2-way Stop (sign) intersection when you are on the through street and are turning left and waiting for oncoming traffic.
If you don’t pull forward in this case, drivers at the stop sign may think you’re just a really nice person and you want them to go first; and that would be totally backwards.
Isn’t this the whole point of stop signs? People facing stop signs are supposed to wait for people who are not facing stop signs.
If you pull forward a bit, you’ll be in their way, and they will understand – even if they have no idea how to drive – that you will be going first.
Pull forward so you have a short turn across traffic and to avoid confusion. Collisions can happen when people are confused.
Keep the car straight (generally)
Remember to keep your vehicle and your wheels straight when waiting in case you are ever rear-ended.
If you get pushed straight forward, it’s probably not the end of the world.
Compare that with what would happen if you were pushed into oncoming traffic and consider the consequences.
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