This post title might seem a pretty straight-forward exercise, and it is, if you’re at a controlled intersection where you get a green arrow. What about intersections where you don’t get that free pass? A young friend of mine goes for his license tomorrow, and it’s the same ‘young friend’ driving in this video. Turning right where you DON’T get that free pass green arrow can be a daunting exercise, but really holds no danger if you practice a little patience and employ those observation skills I write about so often.
The first section of the video below shows us approaching the intersection of Boundary Road and Samuel Street(left) and Chatsworth Road(right) in Camp Hill, Brisbane. We’re turning right from Boundary Road into Chatsworth Road. This intersection has a simple red-amber-green set of traffic lights. No green arrow to tell you when it’s okay to proceed. The Queensland Traffic Act requires the driver in this situation to enter the intersection no further than the middle on the green, and wait for a break in traffic with steering straight ahead, thereby avoiding being pushed into oncoming traffic in the event of a rear end collision. In the first section of the video you’ll note the driver saw only a green light and decided to proceed turning right against the flow of oncoming traffic. Wrong move, and potentially a fatal move. In the second section of the video, the same driver did precisely what is required by the traffic act. He moved forward and occupied the middle of the intersection, observing the flow of traffic against him. When it was safe to do so, he turned right and the potential for danger passed. In the first part of the video you will note that not only did we block traffic, but we potentially endangered through traffic as well as ourselves.
These intersections are relatively rare nowadays, but they do exist. They are quite possibly the ultimate test of a driver’s skills in observation and assessment of timing in the measurement of time, distance and velocity of the approaching traffic. I teach all of my students to do as the act requires. If you are the first vehicle in the queue waiting to turn right, move forward into the centre of the intersection, wheels straight ahead and wait for a suitable break in the opposing traffic flow. Sometimes, that break doesn’t come in the period the green light shines on you. You’re sitting in the middle of a traffic flow, the lights change to amber. DO NOT MOVE!!! I cannot stress this strongly enough. Unfortunately, it seems to be a basic failing among drivers that the sight of an amber light means “speed up” instead of STOP. If you move on an amber light you risk encountering a driver who is determined to beat the lights. Be patient and wait. After all, you’re in the middle of the intersection and you MUST clear it in any event, so wait for the red light, which will almost certainly ensure you won’t encounter the racers trying to beat the lights, check one last time that there are no mentally deficient drivers still intent on continuing, then clear the intersection to the right as quickly and efficiently as possible. There is a small time-frame between the red & opposing green when you can do this, so close attention and preparedness are vital. A safe driver will be well & truly clear well before the green light for the traffic on your left & right appears for those vehicles. Remember – RED means STOP; AMBER means STOP; GREEN means