Green Light vs Mesmerizing Green Arrow

green light vs green arrow

Green Lights and things

Some new drivers ask this question and it’s about the green light vs green arrow. Both are beautiful green things found at intersections. So, what’s the difference?

Since they are green lights, do they simply mean ‘go’?

Maybe they mean go, but go where exactly? That’s the real question. Remember also to scan intersections before driving through them.

green light vs green arrow

Green Light Vs Green Arrow

Straight Green Arrow Means ‘Go Straight’ and do not turn left or right

If you are facing a regular green light, you are usually allowed to turn from your lane at the intersection. Right or left. Those are the usual options.

Of course, this is true unless there are turning restriction signs, which are normally very obvious. Read more about Canada road signs here.

turning restriction signs

If you are facing a solid green arrow, it means ‘go straight only.’ There are several other signs that often indicate to drivers the same instruction.

green light vs green arrow at intersections

In this particular example below, if you were to turn left, you would then be driving the wrong way down the freewayOpens in a new tab., with no where to turn around.

So you can see how this is not just for fun; it’s pretty serious, the whole green light vs green arrow thing. It’s supposed to help – not confuse – us drivers.

But I understand people who are just first learning how to drive might not get what this is all about.

Green Arrows With Turning Restriction Sign

I suppose ‘do not turn left’ is another way of saying ‘go straight only.’ It’s just that it’s so important, we need multiple signs and traffic control devices to make sure all drivers understand.

green arrows intersection

Where Are You Going?

When you are planning a turn at an intersection, it’s a great and necessary habit to check out the road where you’ll be turning onto.

You must do this before you turn; not at the same time when it’s too late. In other words, do you know where are you going?

This can be extra helpful and many times you’ll see it’s obvious that you must go straight.

But at night, and during times when visibility is reduced, it may not be that obvious.

That’s where the green arrow comes in handy. You can always see a green arrow, even in the rain.

Sometimes old rusty and moldy signs are hard to see. But if that’s the case, someone needs to alert city hall so they can get on it.

do not enter signs at intersections

Always check carefully for intersection signs

turning restriction signs

This is just one example but at this intersection in North Vancouver, Opens in a new tab.there’s actually 5 signs that either indicate to not turn left, or ‘do not enter,’ plus the straight-only arrows. That’s a lot, but it is necessary here so that people don’t end up driving the wrong way on the freeway.

Hopefully this clears up the confusion that new or learning drivers may have. It kind of makes our life easier in a way, since going straight is pretty easy, isn’t it?


Carmen became a driving instructor at the age of 22 in North Vancouver, Canada and is an experienced writer, blogger, photographer, artist, philosopher, certified day dreamer and generally complicated human.

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