PLEASE learn how to make a left turn, please?

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

I guess people stay back because they’re afraid to get stuck in the middle of the intersection and block traffic.

Driving on the left, as I do, my issue is with people who haven’t learnt how to make a right hand turn but the principle is the same.

I do understand why drivers don’t want to get stuck in the middle of the intersection. I cannot, however, fathom why they don’t bloody bother to indicate their intention to make that turn until after they’ve pulled up at the intesection. Then, when the lights change they remember that they want to turn and so put their blinker on.

Thanks for nothing, jerks. I am now stuck behind you until you can finally make your turn because you were too lazy to obey the rules of the road and indicate before getting to the intersection.

How would you get ‘stuck’? When the light turns red for the oncoming traffic, you complete your turn. The traffic from the left or right is not going to jump out and block you.

But anyway. This thread had been done here before. The upshot is that you cannot convince the chicken-shit drivers to do the right thing no matter how far you go to show them that they are doing it wrong.

It is the most efficient way of driving, but I think it may be against the rules.

Why? It is illegal at a designated turn signal, but I doubt the OP is talking about those. The light turns green, you may now enter the intersection and complete your turn when it’s safe.

I could have sworn that when I learned to drive 100 years ago (in Ontario) that the official rules were not to pull into an intersection to make a left turn, but to wait at the stop line pending clearance of said intersection. I just tried to find the rules in the Ontario Driver’s Handbook, and don’t see anything of the like.

Anyway, I’m in agreement; pull the hell into the intersection and go as soon as oncoming traffic (and pedestrians) clears.

If traffic is backed up on the left, there may not be room to complete the turns before the light changes. Then you are stuck in the middle of the intersection, messing up the traffic flow for everybody.

That said, if there is no such back-up on the left, there is NO excuse for not pulling out into the intersection and letting some people behind you in on the light.

I used to pull into the intersection. Then DC started installing red light cameras to enforce their “Don’t block the box!” rule. Now I don’t pull into intersections anywhere. I’ve been trained. Nothing’s worse than getting a $25 ticket because some jackass going straight didn’t get out of the intersection in time.

This method is awesome for when people coming the other way run the red light. That must not happen in CALIFORNIA.

What I see here in the Tampa area is that you pull into the intersection waiting for the red light, light turns red, and you still get three or four tailgaiters of opposing traffic going through the light. As soon as they clear, the green light traffic starts to proceed and you’re stuck in the middle like a jerk. Granted, sometimes you don’t have a choice, but I hate making a left turn in busy traffic with no arrow.

Steronz: I wish VA would follow DC’s suit and do the same thing. I am heartily sick of making a left turn while maneuvering around a perpendicular vehicle that pulled way past the heavy white stop line in an attempt to turn left and missed their chance. This isn’t a sometimes thing either. I see it every day at multiple intersections while driving to and from work. It’s also dangerous for pedestrians, who are numerous in my area. The stop line is there for a reason; don’t go past it unless you’re clear to turn left immediately.

Or, one guy sits in the middle of the intersection and after the light turns red, that guy plus the 4 cars behind him decide to blow the red light to turn left, leaving an extra 20 seconds for the people with the green light to sit on the line and wait for their dumbasses to get out of the intersection. No, sorry, you can wait behind the line like you’re supposed to and not block the intersection while you wait to make your turn.

You can be cited for entering an intersection without clear access.

Having said that, it is a virtual necessity for busy intersections without a turn arrow. If cited I would use the common man defense.

In my part of California, most of my left turns are protected by left arrows. What bugs me is when one of a long line of cars decides to pause in the middle of the turn for reasons unfathomable to me, making cars behind him or her miss the light.

As for being stuck in the intersection, I seldom see it happen, since most unprotected lefts are onto non-busy streets.

If people going the other way run the red light it doesn’t matter if you are trying to turn left or not. My wife got hit as the third car going straight through an intersection.

My understanding is also that you’re not supposed to block intersections. I personally find it annoying when people pull all the way up and black traffic.

What happens when the light changes and those cars are still blocking the intersection?

What I see around here is that people pull up on unprotected left turns. Camp until the light changes, then zip through right after it turns red (usually with two or three other cars glomming on behind the first one), which can take 10 or 20 seconds of go time from cars coming across the other way.

I have about 300,000 miles logged in Greater Los Angeles driving. The “rule” in the field is “three on red”. The driver in the intersection goes on red, the next driver follows, and the 3rd cuts a sharper turn than #2 thereby getting a bit of “cover”.

It took me a while to get comfortable with this procedure. If you don’t follow it, it’s a minimum of 1-2 people riding their horn behind you and worse case a rear end collision because you’re not turning as expected.

Yep, same thing on the other side of the bay. I don’t pull up until I can see a gap ahead in the oncoming cars that might allow me to turn. I can see traffic far enough ahead to be able to tell if I will get an opportunity to turn and it gives me enough time to pull forward. If traffic is too heavy then I’ll never get to turn and I’m not going to risk that last minute turn attempt on red because the traffic on the opposite side is guaranteed to have at least one red light runner and the traffic in the other direction is guaranteed to start moving even if someone is still in the intersection.

This mysterious land of California must actually have drivers that are courteous to other drivers. What a wondrous magical place it must be!