How to turn left at an intersection when there is oncoming traffic and no green arrow.

How to turn left at an intersection when there is oncoming traffic and no green arrow.

May 1, 2018

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Like and share this video about understanding traffic signals and help educate others who are unsure about this basic traffic signal function and safety. How to turn left at an intersection when there is oncoming traffic and no green arrow.
Make sure to carry good insurance on your vehicle always. And if you are a new driver, get proper instruction. A good high school or community college driving course is a great idea.

80 Replies to “How to turn left at an intersection when there is oncoming traffic and no green arrow.”

  1. When approaching a green light to make a left turn and there is no car already in the intersection. Do you still stop before the white line or do you just proceed the intersection to yield and execute the left turn? Thanks this has been in my mind for a while.

    1. +john calangi GREEN means go. If the light is green, enter the intersection and prepare to turn when it is safe.

    2. If that light is green you go on into the intersection , if no oncoming traffic is coming your way , or if they are 600 feet away or even 500 feet go ahead and make the left turn and don’t stop for a car that is a half a mile up in front of you , people where i live some of them wait at a stop sign now until their is nothing in sight, this is ludecrious
      you ca soon judge the other cars speed and your speed and with experience you will know whether to stop for the on coming car or not. In Jersey i have seen people turn in front of another car 50 feet away , but he knew his car , he knew how to judge the other cars speed , One word of Caution if you happen to be traveling through South Carolina, the people there seem to accelerate if they see you turning left in front of them , i don’t know if they are looking for insurance money or just trying to scare the hell out of us. But when i see one speed up when i have plenty of time to turn left in front of him , after i make my turn , i come to a complete stop , to see whats on his stupid mind.

  2. This kind of left turn is actually ILLEGAL in the state of Virginia.  It is considered BLOCKING THE INTERSECTION!

    1. how in the hell are you blocking an intersection if the light is green, you block traffic by waiting for the light to turn red then make the left turn on a red light, THAT IS RUNNING A RED LIGHT IF YOUR WHEEL ARE BEHIND THE WHITE LINE! , STUPID IN VA!

    2. AS LONG AS A CAR IS ROLLING I DON’T CARE IF IT’S 1 MILE PER HOUR YOU ARE NOT BLOCKING THAT INTERSECTION AS LONG AS YOUR CAR IS IN MOTION, HOW ARE YOU BLOCKING AN INTERSECTION IF YOU HAVE THE GREEN LIGHT AND THE OTHER PERPENDICULAR TRAFFIC HAS THE RED LIGHT? UGH?

    1. lexington210 He wouldn’t stand a chance in Jersey or. New York,this guy is a country driver raised on a farm,learned to drive a farm before he ever got in a car.He would get ran all over hell in NY,NY. tractor

    1. +SAM NALBO I’ve had people stop and hold up traffic because they didnt make it when left green arrow was on, even though the regular green light is truns on they ignore it and wait another light cycle until the green arrow os back on…

  3. You may have not broken the law, but the one who is in the intersection and oncoming traffic hits you, the car sitting in the intersection is the one at fault if a accident occurs. Staying behind the line, and the oncoming car hits you, your not at fault because your behind the line. It’s safer being behind the line, then over it.

    1. +Kaitlyn Rattee An oncoming car that leaves its lane (which is what it would have to do to hit me) is going to hit me whether I’m behind the line or passed it. It’s not only legal and helpful to others behind you but it is as safe as sitting still behind the line at any intersection when cars are flying by at 50+ mph. Do you imagine that the line is a magical barrier that will stop a careening drunk or sleeping passenger? Head on collisions happen all the time, this maneuver just simply is not a factor in those, which is why it is legal. it is our responsibility as licensed drivers, not to drive into oncoming traffic or pull in front of oncoming traffic. A person who can’t manage this should not drive.

    2. What I was trying to say was that I rather not get fined, plus having to pay for repairs, instead of just car repairs with the others insurance.aa Why pay extra, when you can avoid the fine when you call the police, when it’s ruled that you’ve crossed the line, equals your fault. This is from experiences that I’ve had with friends and family. My friend is even a police officer, it’s best to remain out of the intersection. I made a statement saying it is “safer” be fine the line, which equals less money to be paid.

    3. Oncoming traffic won’t hit you if you don’t pull into their side of the road. Just pull into the intersection and stay on your side until the traffic is gone

    4. you are absolutely wrong buddy , that car that hits you was stopped at the red light while you were in the intersection on a green light. it’s his fault for failing to make a move in safety to avoid an accident. the speed limit is 65 mph , but on ice its 15mph wake up

  4. In New York State, it’s legal only if there is no other vehicule ahead of you planning to make a left turn. So here it was illegal only because this white car entered the intersection ahead of you and prepared for its left turn.

    1. +Elodie Soria It does vary by state, though. In California there is no such restriction, which is why in Los Angeles (a famously left-green-arrow challenged city!) cars pull as far as is reasonably possible into the intersection, to allow as many others as can enter the intersection behind them. I believe that Anglophone Canada has a one-car limitation similar to NY, though.

  5. Onle ONE car is allowed in the intersection. A second car must wait behind the white line until the car in the intersection makes a clearing turn. Once that car vacates the intersection, if the light is still GREEN, you can then pull up into the first car’s position.

    1. YOU GOT SOME CRAZY LAWS IN CANADA , WHEN YOU ENTER THE INTERSECTION ON A GREEN LIGHT , AND THAT LIGHT TURNS RED WHILE YOU ARE THERE , HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSE TO NOW IT’S GOING TO TURN RED? PLUS IF YOU WAIT UNTIL ALL THE ON COMING TRAFFIC PASSES BEFORE YOU TURN LEFT , IF YOU WERE IN NEW YORK YOU COULD CAUSE A MAJOR TRAFFIC JAM AND GET A CITATION OF OVER 300 DOLLARS , IF THE CAR BREAKS DOWN IN THEE INTERSECTION “STALLS” AND THE OTHER TRAFFIC GETS THE GREEN LIGHT TO GO , IF THAT CAR INTENTIONALLY HITS YOU EVEN THOUGH HE HAS THE GREEN LIGHT , THAT DOES NOT MEAN HE HAS A RIGHT TO TAKE OFF FROM A DEAD STOP AND HIT YOU , IF HE DOES HE WILL BE GIVEN A TICKET FOR FAILURE TO MAKE A MOVE IN SAFETY. AND CAUSING AN ACCIDENT THAT COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED ON HIS PART. HOPE THIS CLEARS THINGS UP , ALSO IF THE CAR IN FRONT OF YOU IS MAKING A LEFT TURN ON A GREEN LIGHT AND HE HAS PULLED OUT INTO THE INTERSECTION AND YOU HAVE ROOM TO GET INTO THE INTERSECTION TOO WHILE THE LIGHT IS GREEN , BOTH OF YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO BE THERE, AND IT DEPENDS ON HOW WIDE THIS INTERSECTION IS I HAVE SEEN HAS MANY HAS 4 CARS MAKE A LEFT TURN ON A GREEN LIGHT THAT WAS STARTING TO TURN CAUTION. ALL 4 HAD THE RIGHT OF WAY BECAUSE ALL WERE IN THE INTERSECTION BEFORE IT TURNED RED. NOW TO CLARIFY THIS WHAT IF ALL FOR CARS WERE TURNING LEFT AND NO CARS WERE ON COMING , ARE YOU SUPPOSE TO BE A DUMMY AND STOP IF NO CAR IS THERE ? YOU PEOPLE HAVE A LOT TO THINK ABOUT, I LIVED IN PATERSON NEWS JERSEY AND IF YOU DROVE LIKE YOU AY HERE, THOSE YANKEES DON’T MINE HONKING THE HORN AND IF YOU ARE STILL ASLEEP HE WILL TAP YOUR REAR BUMPER WITH HIS FRONT BUMPER, HAVE YOU NEVER SEEN 4 CARS GOING THROUGH A GREEN LIGHT SIMULTANEOUSLY?

    2. WHEN YOU TRAVEL FROM ONE STATE TO THE OTHER MOST OF THE TIME WHAT THE LAW IS IN YOUR STATE WILL BE HONORED BY THE HIGHWAY PATROL, OR POLICE OFFICER, BECAUSE IT’S VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO KNOW ALL THE RULES IN ALL 50 STATES.

    3. Thanks Joe for helping me out. What i don’t get is why in the hell are these handbooks good for if you are not going to go by them?, My hand book tells me to pull into the intersection if i’m the first one at the light when it turns green ,i’m not going to sit there and let a light turn red 3 or 4 times before i make my left turn, and one more thing , why are these driving instructors not teaching students how to turn left on a green light that does not have a leading green???????? and chages them 400 to 600 dollars to teach them to drive????? i hope you teachers or instructors are reading this because you sure as to hell need too, i get frustrated everYtime i have to go into town because 99.999 % do not know how to turn left ,, PLEASE START TEACHING THEM !!!!!!!

  6. I just want to add this for people in the USA (most states)… A lot of states declare that if you are stopped in the middle of an intersection (like the video demonstrates), that IS actually illegal because it’s considered “blocking the intersection” and can be ticketed by an officer having a bad day. How to avoid this? Instead, slow down (to a point to where your car is moving on its own) on a solid green and ease into the intersection while letting off the brake and gas. This is perfectly legal in most states and since you are slowly moving and never come to a complete stop, you cannot receive a ticket. Also, ignore the “red light” after you have went through the intersection on a solid green light because that “red light” doesn’t pertain to you at all since you went through the intersection on green.
    Side note: Sadly, in Florida (where I live in Florida at least), they actually just changed this law because someone got killed pulling into the intersection. So the new law is stay behind the white line even if you have a solid green. *sad face* this causes traffic to be backed up so much! ugh!

    1. +Nathan Rodgers I feel bad for Floridian motorists and pedestrians alike. When people aren’t allowed (or even simply don’t think they’re allowed) to pull into the intersection on a solid green, they end up stopping in the crosswalk in order to get closer. They’ll probably end up doing whatever carries the smallest fine, since many urban lights are so short that you’ve got to do one or the other in order to have enough time to turn once a gap in oncoming traffic appears. I guess it’s still an improvement over the “rolling stop” thing though, since that might cause someone turning left to have to move all the way through the intersection before they get a chance to complete a left turn, which just seems more likely to create even more dangerous situations.

    2. +Nathan Rodgers Taking my road test in fl in a couple of weeks & I’ve been getting mixed answers on this subject which makes things confusing. Some are telling me to stop behind the line until clear & then proceed and some are telling me to slowly creep into the intersection, wait for traffic to clear & proceed.

    3. +Manda Panda Honestly, I can’t give you a straight answer for the simple fact that I don’t want to tell you wrong. The Florida laws are so wishy washy… it’s annoying. If I were to lean towards something, it would be stopping behind the line and waiting until clear – this will prevent automatic failure on the road test… if this is not correct, you may get “negative points,” but you won’t automatically fail. Because, when I took the road test, if you went on red or even yellow when it wasn’t safe to do so (as determined by the instructor), it was an automatic fail the whole driving test.

  7. what you are describing in the video and showing is also illegal in Canada. Only ONE car is allowed in the intersection. A second car must wait behind the white line until the car in the intersection makes a clearing turn. Once that car vacates the intersection, if the light is still GREEN, you can then pull up into the first car’s position.

    1. +Kobra In Ohio, the driver’s handbook does not limit how many drivers can enter the intersection on full green to wait to turn left. Some intersections are large and can accommodated several cars beyond the white line. In large intersections, it is safer to advance past the white line, in that there is a lot less distance to judge when it is safe to make the left turn. Not advancing can cause huge traffic backups in all directions.

    2. what if 3 cars are in the intersection while the light is green , is that illegal too, there is no way in the hell you can get a ticket for running a red light if your car is in the intersection while you have the green light , your front wills have passed the broad white line and if your wheels are passed that when the light turns red you are in the clear, but if that light turns red before your front wheels get past the BROAD WHITE LINE that’s when the camera takes a picture of your tag number and you receive a ticket in the mail in your name even if your brother sister or mother was driving your car , which i think the driver should get the ticket not the owner.

    3. I f you drive a cab for a cab company don’t the cab driver get the ticket and not the cab company??????

  8. im sorry if you pull up and end up stuck in the middle of an intersection when the light turns red. good luck youre just asking for a crash.

    1. Cyanide oG ☠ Yeah I was just thinking that so honestly when I start driving I’ll just wait

    2. Cyanide oG ☠ If there is a car already in the intersection when your like turns green, you have to wait till they clear it. This is a law.

    3. WHO IN THE WORLD IS GOING TO TAKE OFF FROM A RED LIGHT and hit a car in the side just because he has the green light? A person that does that is charged with reckless driving to avoid an accident. I don’t care if the light is green if you take off and hit that stranded car it’s your fault buddy , that is not defensive driving . go back to driving school!

    4. IF HE ITS YOU TAKING OFF FROM A RED LIGHT THAT JUST TURNED GREEN FOR HIM , FIRST HE FAILED TO MAKE A MOVE IN SAFETY , SECOND , HE CAUSED AN ACCIDENT THAT COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED BY HIM. HE WILL GET THE TICKET AND HIS INSURANCE WILL FIX YOUR CAR , IF IT’S STILL FIXABLE. DON’T WORRY ABOUT THAT GUY STOPPED AT THE RED LIGHT WHILE YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF AN INTERSECTION MAKING A LEFT TURN , YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO BE THERE, BUT HE DOES NOT , BECAUSE HE SEEN YOU THERE, AND JUST BULL DOZED INTO YOU , WE ARE DRIVING CARS NOT BULL DOZZERS. BUT DON’T FAIL TO GET A COUPLE OF WITNESSES ON YOUR BEHALF.

    5. Andrei Taran I literally did the exact thing y’all are talking about and got caught by a red light and failed my driving test SOLEY off of that maneuver. I’m not refuting anyone, I’m just asking if I got fucking conned at the dmv. I pulled up to the middle of the intersection and waited for traffic to clear and it never did. Was I in the right of way?

  9. So glad I found this. A few months ago I was stalled at a left turn lane because a driving instructor in the car in front of me would not allow the student to pull forward and we waited through two changes. I called the supposed school and told them that was not the proper procedure, but I don’t think they believed me! I have noticed this a lot lately and it is just as said here, a hindrance to traffic and it causes congestion. It won’t get better when the supposed instructors don’t know how to drive!!! The lane is open to drive in partially, just don’t turn until it is clear. I have noticed the same thing at uncontrolled intersections where people wait too far back & it takes them a long time to make the turn.

  10. Aren’t you supposed to wait for the car already in the intersection to go before you enter the intersection?

    1. That’s what I learned in Driver’s Ed. Don’t enter the intersection until the car ahead of you clears. You can’t block the intersection.

    2. no not if the first car is far enough out into the intersection to where both of you are in the intersection.Both are legal , if that light turns red while you and cars behind you are in the intersection sometimes 3 cars can get in that intersection if the driver in front has enough courtesy to let more cars behind him get in. no one has run a red light.

    3. NOT IF YOU CAN GET IN THE INTERSECTION , YOU WILL HAVE TO GET CLOSE TO HIS TAIL BUT AS LONG AS BOTH CARS ARE IN THE INTERSECTION BEFORE THE LIGHT TURNS RED, “NOT CAUTION” BOTH OF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT OD WAY.

  11. What if I am in the middle of the intersection then suddenly all the light turns red and the pedestrian light turns on, to the left where I am turning. Now I am in the middle of the intersection and pedestrians are also crossing in my left what should I do here?
    I hope you understand me..

    1. There is always a couple seconds pause between when your light turns red and the cross traffic one turns green. Therefore as long as you’re not texting or daydreaming and paying attention, you’ll be fine.

    2. That wouldn’t happen. If you are turning LEFT and are caught in on the red, the pedestrian light to the left will be a NO. Why? Because traffic from your RIGHT side will now engage and start to proceed right across. There’s no way that pedestrian light will say “WALK”.

  12. Oregon state law says you can’t be in the intersection…period. They will write you a ticket. It’s deemed unsafe. Too many accidents.

    1. I don’t have a link to the law right now. I have friends in the law enforcement and they told me this. So is that good enough?
      REPLY

    1. sid ray thank God they take the licence away at 75 over here they don’t I work pizza delivery and elders are the most common the ones not signaling or following the right of way. And driving very unsafely.

    2. Thanks , you in Phils?
      I’m 65 and i hit Interstate 85 mostly everyday to keep my driving skills sharpened , but alot of these southerners are afraid to get on 85 , If you stop driving the expressway , you will lose a lot of you mental alertness. thats, what gets me about these instructors , all they teach them to do his hold the car in the road make a left turn or right turn , over half of them can not parallel park,

    3. yeah i know, alot of them around here learn how to drive a farm tractor after learning to ride a bike, what gets me is law enforcement , they always say speed kills , but i’m a witnness to my own self sometimes you have to use speed to get the hell out of somebody that is about to hit yu. I mean sometimes you have to floor it because some fool run a red light

    4. You create traffic and piss off everyone that now gets a red light because you’re afraid.

  13. bad advice. If you are in the intersection when the light turns red the cameras will think you ran a red.

    1. Bad information. There are hardly anymore red light cameras around. And when they were around – to activate the camera focus your front wheel passes the white line at a red light and your physical picture is taken when your back wheel enters the intersection.

  14. I don’t think this is correct. Many times I have seen a car hanging in the middle of the intersection, waiting to make that left, then the light turns red. (you say it’s not illegal to turn on red at this point. I’m not sure about that in every state) But then, the car trying to turn left is unable to because cars in the opposite direction run the red light, preventing the other car from making the left, even after the light turns red. I’ve seen this happen way too much.

    What I do is stop at the LINE and then creep forward when I anticipate enough time to make the left turn.

    1. Not being smart or nothing buddy , but tell me what you aim to do if the light turns red while you are making your left turn , you sure as to hell can’t back up you are completely legal if that light was not red, “caution is ok , but make it quick, don’t take time to think about a caution light like 3 or 4 seconds , you decide in a half a second, the reason i say that is for 2 reasons , and i will mention the most important one first. Say you are doing 45 in a 45 you approach a light that is green and about 50 feet before you get to the light it turns caution, you think fast, and practical “dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/practical
      practical meaning, definition, what is practical: relating to experience, real situations, or actions rather than ideas or imagination: . If you try your best to stop even on dry pavement and more so on wet pavement you are going to almost throw your passenger through the windshield cause a whip lash , possibly get sued by your passenger for the whip lash etc .. get the idea? now for the second rason , you apply those breaks you were traveling 45 in a 45 and you tried your best to stop. what happens if you have no passenger? you end up in the middle of the intersection and if the other car had the green light making 70 miles per hour you guessed it you get T boned hopefully on the passenger side with no passenger. So you see the point i’m trying to make here is we all know speed kills , bacause of th laws of ” Inertia “is the resistance of any physical object to any change in its state of motion. This includes changes to the object’s speed, direction, or state of rest.
      Inertia is also defined as the tendency of objects to keep moving in a straight line at a constant velocity. The principle of inertia is one of the fundamental principles in classical physics that are still used to describe the motion of objects and how they are affected by the applied forces on them. So much for physics. But it helps to have this knowledge , if you have raced as many cars as i have and gave some police friends a run for their money on driving experience. I came out on top 90% of the time. So getting back to the 70 mile per hour car , and the light turning caution on you at 50 to 60 feet away. first thing comes to my mind is , I don’t know yet if a car is approaching the intersection or not , but I always , always I repeat it again always put it in your head a car is approaching the interection that you are either going to stop for the light or slam on breaks and be sitten in front of that 70 mile per hour car. Well you sure as to hell don;t want to stop in the middle of the intersection and get hit by a semi at 70 mph. So there is an exception to every rule , don’t let other people tell you other wise.And this is it. “SOMETIMES WE HAVE TO USE SPEED FOR SAFETY” DID you jut hear what i said? Sometimes we have to use speed to avoid an accident.Because trying to slow up has a 99% percent chance of getting us killed. So the light just turned caution you seen it when it turned and you know most of them stay on caution 5 to 7 seconds. So what do you think the best thing to do is, I know if i accelerate to 60 quickly i’m going to get through that intersection before that 70 mph semi gets there.And on top of that i would rather be alive and pay a 150 dollar speeding ticket than to be 6 feet under. Didn’t mean to make this a long drawn out subject but sometime when it come to a matter of life and death and you carre about your fellow man that you never seen before you try with your best intentions to help him , and ask him if he has any pointers to give me , because none of us knows it all , not even the police. So happy traveling buddy. Ray

  15. This is how I was originally taught back in the 90s when I learned how to drive.
    However, last year I got pulled over by a police officer for doing this EXACT thing (entering the intersection to turn left while the light was green). There was oncoming traffic, so I waited as stated in this video. The light turned yellow and then red while I was still in the intersection. The cop told me I ran a red light. I explained it to him, and he told me what I did was ILLEGAL. He let me off with a warning though (thankfully).

  16. Terrible logic. When multiple cars enter the intersection to turn left and pull forward.. they actually blind the opposite driver as well as themselves from having a clear view of the oncoming traffic… I see it and laugh at it all the time.. they have to wait until the light is basically red to go cause they can’t see oncoming traffic and nobody goes anywhere.. if u sit back a ways you have a FULL view of BOTH oncoming lanes and can get out of the intersection quickly and safely…. once car pulls up to crosswalk area has a full view.. goes when clear. next car repeats.. does the same when clear….. MUCH FASTER… than cars pulling right up into the middle of the intersection and blinding each others views and being scared to turn and taking the whole light up only one or two cars will actually get to turn

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