Right of Way observance: Pedestrian / Self / Position / Other Vehicles

All of these right-of-way rules apply to turning vehicles, but this type of maneuver also involves additional considerations.

Normally, vehicles that are turning must yield to ones that are going straight ahead. Flashing green lights or arrows coming before or after the main phase of the light often serve as traffic signals for left turns. While the signal light is flashing, the main lanes of traffic travelling in the opposite direction are stopped at red lights. At the same time, traffic making similar turns may have green arrows.

Besides vehicles on the road, pedestrians are another factor for drivers to consider in cities and towns, especially before entering or leaving intersections. One common mistake that drivers make is to attempt to begin turning left before the way is clear of traffic. Often, traffic congestion results when drivers must stop to allow pedestrians to cross the street. While that is happening, the vehicle may be obstructing one or more lanes of traffic. This can be frustrating for other road users, and examiners are likely to mark it as a fault.   

When making left turns, drivers also frequently make the mistake of entering the intersection and pulling far enough ahead that they block one lane of opposing traffic, forcing the drivers to stop. On multi-lane streets, this behaviour can put the driver and others in serious danger as visibility from the right, in the direction of the opposing traffic, is obstructed.

Sometimes, the turning vehicle may be invisible to other drivers. If it is unsafe to move forward, the driver may have to wait until the signal light changes so that the flow of traffic comes from the other direction. When that happens, the waiting drivers are in the relatively dangerous situation of obstructing traffic as they clear the intersection. Going from a one-way street to another one-way, drivers are permitted to turn on a red light, as long as they first stop, and they do not impede pedestrians or other traffic. On a test, the examiner should make a note on the score sheet if the applicant does not follow this procedure.

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