I may be speaking only to Californians, because the rules might differ in other locations.
But in California, the correct way to make a left turn is to pull into the intersection immediately and wait. You move your car almost, but not quite to the middle of the street, where you wait patiently for oncoming traffic to ease.
This is the more efficient and helpful practice for the following reasons:
When oncoming traffic eases, you will be able to complete your left much more quickly and safely, rather than needing to move forward and left all at once and perhaps being surprised by something you didn’t really see before, because you were TOO FAR BACK, and then suddenly hitting your brakes halfway into your turn, where oncoming traffic that was formerly easing and is now closing in can either hit you or suddenly hit their brakes too, resulting in a potentially tragic series of events that we don’t need to recount in gruesome detail.
You are assisting with the smooth flow of as much traffic as possible as quickly as possible, because when you are already pulled into the intersection, more cars behind you can also move closer to you and further in, making it more likely that they will be able to take advantage of THIS light rather than having to wait for the NEXT one.
So please, please, please… pull into the goddamn intersection when you’re making a left.
That’s all. Thanks much.