Inching forward at traffic lights

And if you pull all the way out and the light changes before you can turn, then you’re now blocking traffic coming the other way. Show me the statute that says you’re supposed to do that.

If you’ll accept a generality (obviously statutes can, and do, vary among states), here

So, there you have it. Often you can; sometimes you can’t. I think it’s actually allowed in most states, but I’m not going to search through all 50 states’ traffic codes.

then THAT’S WHEN YOU TURN. If traffic is heavy and there’s no flashing green or green arrow at that intersection, you HAVE to do this to get through at all. And only one car gets through on a green even when doing this.

Enter the intersection. Safely complete left turn when appropriate break in traffic permits. If light turns amber, opposite direction traffic will stop. You complete left turn as soon as it is safe. Cross traffic will wait for you to clear intersection.

That’s a fundamental part of driving in these here parts. If drivers can’t get that part down, they ought not to drive here.

Maybe traffic laws are different where you are.

Hong Kong also lights up the amber during the “go” cycle.

As for inching forward, my theory is that it is another form of the condition where people press an elevator button repeatedly in an attempt to make the elevator arrive sooner.

What’s Canada, chopped liver? :slight_smile: In Saskatchewan, Canada:

Well…yeah. :stuck_out_tongue:

Actually, since I’ve never lived there (or even visited briefly) I feel neither qualified nor comfortable speaking for Canadian law. I leave that to you hosers, eh.

Oh, so you’re the guy backing up the left turn lane for miles!

Which is similar to the rules I indicated in post #24.

Similar because I’m in Manitoba (also in Canada) (beside Saskatchewan)*. Similar, because we lent them our driver’s handbook so they could copy it.

  • I have to point that out, because Saskatchewan is bad at geography. What’s the saying? Saskatchewan. Hard to spell. Easy to draw.

Of course, I’m kidding.:wink:

I think you’re being too harsh. I really think it’s just a form of fidgetiness (inching forward at traffic lights).

I, too, had the same problem when I used to ride my bike around a college town, respecting the traffic lights. I couldn’t trip the left turn sensor (right turn for those in the UK), so I nailed a doughnut-shaped magnet to the end of a sawed off broom handle that was velcroed to my bike. I would wave the magnet over the sensor wire and would get a green turn light at the next cycle. It was also useful for swinging at unleashed dogs that decided to chase me.

I like the idea of red-amber-green cycle when I would have a red light, but it wouldn’t work here. To paraphrase the alien in the movie Starman: “Red means stop, green means go and yellow means drive faster.” We would have a rash of T-bone accidents because the people at a red would take off at the amber signal at the same time the other traffic would be (regularly) running the amber signal when it was green a moment before. At least around here, we tend to immediately exert our right-of-way on a green light despite the concurrent actions of the idiot in the process of running their red light.


A lot of pedestrian crossing signals in the US have a countdown for walk on green crossings now, just look to left or right and you can time it , if you were so inclined. :slight_smile:

Yeah, I see that around here, mostly in the college district. Apparently, VCU students are less patient than most people.

Hmm. Like Diogenes the Cynic, I’ve never read anything close to it being legal to do this. The wording of Q.E.D.'s cite, “some states,” implies that law is probably in only a minority of states, or else it would say “many states” or “most states,” wouldn’t it?

I used to have a Camaro where you had to press really hard on the brake pedal in order to keep it stopped at a stoplight. If I let up even a little, the car would inch forward. At long lights, I’d just put the car in neutral. (It was an automatic transmission.)

If you are more than half way through an intersection when the light turns red, you’re legal. If you pull half way through while the light is green, you wait til oncoming traffic stops and proceed through. You’re already more than half way - it’s legal for the first car. Maybe legal for the second.

There’s about a 5sec gap between one light turning red and the other turning green. That is the window to proceed.
ETA, as far as the inching goes. Read Chefguy’s post (#6) for my exact opinion.

Your idle speed was set way too high.

The sensors are supposed to be sensitive enough to pick up bicycles, let alone motorcycles. On a high school field trip I went to the city’s central control hub for all of the traffic lights in the city. They had a sledgehammer on one of those sensors and it could detect it no problem.

I’m not sure how being buried underneath asphalt changes things, though.

They’ve put those in on several of the intersections I drive through to get to work. I gotta tell you, they have helped me not run yellow lights because I know exactly how much time I have left. If I know I can’t make it all the way through the intersection before the count hits 0, I won’t try.


The sensitivity of the detector loops is adjustable. With sensors in multiple traffic lanes, large-vehicle traffic can cause false triggering on adjacent lanes. Some sensors are equipped with secondary loops, smaller, but more sensitive, than the main loop but far enough away from adjacent lanes to avoid the false-triggering problem. These bicycle-friendly sensors will generally have a marking on the roadway so that bicyclists know where to stop their bikes at a red light in order to trigger the sensor. Even with standard single- and double-loop sensors, you can often successfully trigger them, if you know the tricks. Many sensor installations can be clearly seen by the thin lines cut into the pavement. The most sensitive part of the loop is directly over it; for double loops, the central line where both loops pass is the sweet spot. if that doesn’t work, laying your bike down directly on top of the sensor increases the metal mass close to the sensor and can help trigger it.

Not all that much. The loops are typically buried only a few inches below the road surface and the pavement material has no more of an attenuating effect than the same thickness of air.