Turning Right on a Green Light – How To Be Awesome At This

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Right Turns Video Demonstration

Turning right on a green light? Pretty much everyone will have to do this. Are you just learning about driving, or maybe you want to improve your driving? There are a lot of tiny details about this, as usual. But, it is not hard at all.

Turning right on a green light tip #1: Know Who You Are Yielding To

In theory, when you are turning right on a green light, the only people you normally need to yield to are pedestrians and cyclists.

Of course, you may need to yield to someone else – such as a left-turning vehicle, if it has already turned and is subsequently in your way.

Drivers who are turning left are supposed to yield to drivers who are turning right in this situation.

 

turning right on a green light tip #2: Pay Attention To Your Vehicle Positioning

Whenever possible, try to move your vehicle closer to the curb before the right turn so that vehicles behind you can fit by in case you do stop for pedestrians.

Before you move over, use a right-mirror check and a right shoulder check to ensure there are no bikes or anything else that you would be potentially in conflict with.

If there are no pedestrians and any left-turning vehicle is clearly yielding, then simply turn.

turning right on a green light

 

 

turning right on a green light tip #3: Watch For Pedestrians

If you see pedestrians, move forward into the intersection a bit in order to line up your vehicle with where you are about to turn.

There are two reasons for this:

It clearly tells the driver of any left-turning car that you are seriously getting ready to turn right and you are merely waiting for the pedestrians.

If you wait behind the white stopping line, the driver may think that you want him/her to go first, because it looks like you’re leaving an insanely large amount of space in front of you for no reason.

Keep in mind, there should be no pedestrians walking on the perpendicular crosswalk; so it’s fine to block it; in fact you kind of have no choice in many cases.

The other reason has to do with the traffic light.

If you move forward into the intersection, wait for slow or many pedestrians, and then the light goes yellow, then you’re still allowed – and you should – exit the intersection after the pedestrians, but before any left-turning vehicle.

Turning right driving tip #4: More Details On Pedestrians

Give the pedestrians some extra time before you turn.

You don’t have to necessarily wait until they’ve walked completely across the entire crosswalk.

In certain intersections, that might mean waiting for them to walk past multiple lanes, which would be silly.

Usually you should wait until they’re at least past the yellow line if they’re walking away from you, or until they actually step onto the sidewalk if they’re walking toward you.

Do another quick shoulder check before you turn to make sure there are no more pedestrians about to walk.

turning right and left
intersection right turns

 

 turning right driving tip #5: That Oncoming Left-Turning Vehicle

Do keep an eye on the left-turning vehicle.

The driver doing a left turn is supposed to be yielding to you. However, this doesn’t mean that he will.

If it turns when it shouldn’t, then simply let it go first and go after it.

right turn on a green light tip #6: dealing with Multiple lanes

If there are two lanes, then avoid turning at the exact same time as the left-turning vehicle.

You need some extra space around your vehicle at all times and turning at the same time robs you of this safety cushion.

Try to time it so you turn before it or after it, but not simultaneously.

turning right into correct lane

 

 

 right turn driving tip #7: Which lane should you turn into?

Legally when you turn right, you’re required to turn into the right lane; and the driver of any left-turning vehicle is required to turn into the left lane.

However, if after you turn there are no vehicles in the other lane, you can quickly change your turn signal to a left signal and make sure it is safe and do a lane change into the left lane fairly quickly.

This is perfectly legal as long as

  1. you are not crossing a solid white line and
  2. it is safe (obviously) and
  3. 3) your left-turn signal is flashing
how to turn right

turning right on a green light Tip #8: When The Light Turns Yellow

*By the way, if you’re approaching the intersection for the right turn and the traffic light goes yellow, you are legally required to stop your automobile behind the white line and yield to others, unless it is not safe to stop. See Right Turns on Red Lights for more info.

Read more about intersections on our sister site, DriveSmart BC Intersections.


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37 thoughts on “Turning Right on a Green Light – How To Be Awesome At This”

  1. Thank you for this information! I’m doing my class 5 test in Vancouver tomorrow and I ran into a right turn scenario yesterday that I don’t really know the answer to…
    If you are wanting to turn right and notice that there is a bus stop in the very right lane and a bus is currently stopped there, are you allowed to turn into the next lane? This was a two-lane street and the bus was just about a car-length away from the intersection.

    Also, what if the very right lane becomes available for meter parking after rush hour? Are you able to turn into the next lane if there is a car parked in the spot closest to the curb? What if there wasn’t a car parked there but further up?

    • I really wish you would have answered this question Carmen. I have the same question and I have my road test tomorrow and I can’t find the answer anywhere!

  2. Great info Carmen, thank you so much for sharing.

    I have a question and thought may be you can help clarifying it for me if you can/wouldn’t mind. I searched but couldn’t find it.

    It’s about turning right from a four-laned two-way street(stem of T intersection) into another four-laned two-way street (bottom of T-intersection)

    Since there is no opposing traffic, there will be no left-turning vehicles going towards the lane left of the right curb lane.

    I am waiting on the left for the thru traffic to pass. Can I turn right to the left lane (as if I were waiting on that second designated right turn lane commly found on 3-laned one-way streets like highway exits)

    Perhaps an image can clarify it better. If needed, and there is a way to upload it or email it, please let me know

    Thank you

  3. This is inaccurate information… in the state of California, you are allowed to turn into any available lane, left or right; therefore, this information of a left hand driver being able to turn into the left lane while a driver is turning into the right lane on green is wrong. It’s reckless not to mention the States which allow this on your site because it’s causing a lot of people to come close to causing accidents… I’ve been in several near misses myself with left turners thinking they can turn at the same time I do on right with a green light. Right turners have the right of way and by law in CA (and I think 5 other states) can turn into any available lane. Please update this information on your site to be accurate.

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