It truly is. We know how to drive. Unlike the “drivers” in other states (Oregon, I’m looking at you!)
How about Los Angeles learns to install fucking protected left turn signals? Why are there like, four in the entire county? I DON’T UNDERSTAND.
Phew. Thank you. I needed to get that off my chest.
It’s two on red. If you try to sneak by as the third car, the ticket camera will get you.
But yeah, I don’t know why people are moaning about blocking intersections. Here in L.A. at least, two cars may pull into the intersection and then turn as the light changes yellow/red.
And on a related note, more and more traffic lights here on the Westside are being converted to the five-way light (I don’t actually know what it’s called). It’s the light that senses how many cars are in the left-hand turn lane and provides a protected left-hand turn light if there are a certain amount of cars waiting. If there are only one or two cars in the left hand turn lane, the light shows regular green, no protected turn.
No thanks. I once saw a car that was in the intersection waiting for the left turn. Our light turned red and before he could finish his turn another car came from the left sailing through the green light and ran into him. (It seemed like the car from the left was already moving and kept on going since the light was green.)
Unless someone shows me something in the CA vehicle code saying I’m supposed to pull out to the middle of the intersection, I’m staying put behind my line like I’ve been doing since that day. The trick is to anticipate the gap and start moving forward for your left turn a little in advance when you predict that you will have time to finish the turn before the next car comes through.
Also I should say that I live on the suburbs where left-turn arrows are plentiful. It is rare that I am faced with the “wait for the traffic to come through to do your left turn” dilemma.
That’s what furriners have always marveled at here.
I drove a cab a million years ago and that’s when I first learned that. People would be in town from all over the place and repeatedly remark on how courteous and sane California drivers are. I thought that was weird until I went to New York, then I understood.
I don’t know why it is, except perhaps for the fact that we are the quintessential “car culture” and spend so much more damn time in our cars than in other big cities so the etiquette is more deeply ingrained in us than people who do a lot of walking and public transport mixed with their cars. Just a guess.
I see that your driving skills are on par with your legal skills.
In California at least the red light cameras don’t trigger if you are in the intersection before it turns red. However, it does happen that people turn left, entering before the light changes. Quite a bit at one intersection, until they put in the red light camera which fixed the problem real fast.
The problem is, there are some intersections where if you don’t pull in to the intersection you plain won’t go. Possibly for several cycles. Rare where I live, but I have seen them.
I spent some time in Arizona in the '80s when they had just recently installed a system like this. The turn arrow wouldn’t kick in unless there were three or more cars waiting. This resulted in people pulling into the turn lane and stopping two car lengths behind the line, so that they would trigger the sensor.
I imagine the technology has been improved since then.
In every state I have seen the Rules of the Road for, vehicles which have legally entered the intersection have the right of way over those awaiting their turn to enter it. In other words, at a busy intersection you, desiring to turn left, entger the intersection and stand, awaiting a break in the oncoming traffic (e.g., you, formerly heading north and now trying to turn east, are being held up by southbound traffic). The light changes, giving a green to the eastbound and westbound traffic. They are legally obliged to wait the approximate one second it takes you to complete your turn and clear the intersection. Just because you now have a green light does not give you license to run over the little old lady who didn’t complete crossing the intersection on foot while the light was still green her way, nor does it permit you to slam into, or blast your horn at, the man completing his left turn. Look it up. This may not be the case in all jurisdictions, but it has been universally true in those I’ve driven in enough to need to know the rules of the road.
Okay, this is making me crazy. When I learned to drive (back when Driver’s Ed was a regularly scheduled High School class, 30+ years ago) I could have sworn there was a statment in our manual that said for a left turn to pull into the intersection, clearing the cross walk behind you when possible, keeping your tires straight. Then complete the turn when safe. I just went to the current DMV California Driver’s Handbook, and here is what it says:
So I guess I’m wrong.
BTW, my husband from England was taught to turn your wheels to the left (well, right because that’s the “hard” turn in a right-hand-drive country) in anticipation of this turn. I was taught not to do that, in case you get hit from behind, so you don’t get pushed into oncoming traffic. That’s mentioned in the manual, too. But the streets in England are SO narrow that you’ve GOT to turn your wheels while you’re waiting, otherwise you’ll never make the turn!
You and I learned to drive the same way at the same time, which tells me that it is what we were taught.
I’m going straight. Light turns yellow while I’m in the intersection, so I continue. Dude trying to make a left hand turn on the other side while not having a clear view of the intersection decides to turn on the yellow. Yeah, my car was totalled (but I wasn’t at fault). Because of this, I’m super cautious with going into the intersection and turning and don’t do it often because I don’t want to be stuck as left on red.
While we’re having this discussion, a related question:
U-turns are legal here unless noted. My street meets another that is commonly used for U-turns, but the left hand turn you need to make to do a U-turn is sharp and you need to turn into the far right lane.
Question is, if I’m turning right onto the street (I have the stop sign) and someone trying to do a U-turn swings into the far right lane and hits me, who is at fault? Since all I see is someone trying to make a left hand turn onto the street I’m currently on and there’s no oncoming traffic, I am clear to make my turn. But the guy doing the U-turn thinks he has the right of way because a left hand turn trumps my right hand turn.
Looks more and more like a generational thing. I posted on my facebook about it and my peers are saying they remember being taught what I was taught, but one of them said her two sons were giving her a hard time about it recently, and they are 18 and 20 years old.
Having watched people do it from the limit, and from the intersection, and doing it myself, I feel way safer being able to clearly see both in front AND the path I’ll be taking left before I actually make the left. Too many surprising pedestrians hidden behind SUVs and the like that aren’t seen until you’re IN the turn and blocking oncoming traffic.
I have never heard of anyone being hassled for it by cops. I guess they’re letting the generations who learned it that way die off…
Jesus Fucking Chris this made me queasy just reading it. I don’t think I am EVER going to visit LA.
Very common where I live. I don’t know how long you’d be waiting at the intersection by my old house if you didn’t move into it to wait for your turn, but you’d be measuring in hours rather than minutes.
On the plus side, this means we don’t have Stoids problem. People just don’t ever wait behind the line at crossings with lights - even if there actually is a gap coming up, we’ve all been well trained by the intersections where that never happens.
It is more efficient to hang back a bit farther and time the start so that you reach that place where most people wait already rolling. This allows turning through a gap 30-50% smaller than if you stop in the middle of the intersection. Yes this does require that you develop your speed/distance judgement a bit. Worst case you misjudge, have to stop, and are then only as bad off as the morons with zeroth-order world models. (consider only position, ignore speed and acceleration)
Also, there is usually NO reason to pull into the middle of the intersection at uncontrolled intersections, but people get in the habit of doing it a light controlled intersections. Finally, if it is clear, you don’t have to stop before turning left. Seems like about 1/10th the population can’t gauge oncoming traffic while still rolling.
I see this often at a certain intersection I frequent a lot. There’s a couple businesses on one side that you need to make a legal left U-turn into the far right lane to get to them. The opposite direction has a red light, the U-turners have a green light. You can turn right on red here after a stop if traffic is clear. However, every single time I watch the right-turners nearly take out the U-turners because they think they don’t have to watch for traffic from that direction. But they have a red light so they do not have the right of way. I believe the same applies to a stop sign. You need to watch for traffic from all possible directions before you can assume it’s safe to turn after coming to a full stop. Heck, most of the time these people don’t even stop at the red, they just roll on through.
Just was going to post exactly this. You stop at a Stop Sign until it is safe to proceed, which is not the case when someone is making a U-turn with right of way. I turn right at intersections like this all the time, and always assume that someone in the left turn lane is making a Uey until proven otherwise. On the other hand, I’ve seen plenty of right turners (and people with yields) just go. When I get phasers mounted they are going to get taught the lesson they deserve.
In Chicago, I’m pretty sure we were taught (I’m 35) that it’s not strictly kosher to do what you’re recommending in the OP, but that it’s pretty much universally expected. I’d say about 90-95% of drivers I come across in unprotected left turns enter the intersection to make their turn. There are many intersections that if you didn’t do this, you’d never clear the left turn lane otherwise.
However, I’m aware that this seems to vary a lot by region. I remember feeling weird doing this in Phoenix, as drivers there seemed not to enter the intersection unless they could complete their turn immediately. It’s possible my experience was anomalous, but I do remember that sticking out about driving in the Phoenix area.
Good username/comment moment. Let me know where you get those phasers, I’d like to have some installed as well.