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Behind-the-Wheel

Dear Cop - Turning Intersections

I have two quick traffic questions which I've been confused about, and based on the driving habits of Kelowna residents, others are confused too.

1)When making a left turn at a busy intersection, is it permitted to
enter the intersection while the light is green? Or do you have to stay
behind the line until it is safe to go? Often the only chance to turn is
when the light is yellow and sometimes people running yellow lights force
you to wait until it is red.

2)On HWY 97 there are a few locations with a left turn lane with its
own light (eg. Northbound turning left onto Sexsmith Rd). Later at night the straight-through traffic often has a green light while the left turn has a red even though it is clearly safe to turn. Must one wait for the turn light to go green even when it is safe to go?
Thank you!

DL

Turning at Intersections

Section 165 (2) of the Motor Vehicle Act indicates that when the driver of a vehicle intends to turn it to the left at an intersection where traffic is permitted to move in both directions on each highway entering the intersection, the driver must

(a) cause the vehicle to approach the intersection in the portion of the right side of the roadway that is nearest the marked centre line, or if there is no marked centre line, then as far as practicable in the portion of the right half of the roadway that is nearest the centre line,

(b) keep the vehicle to the right of the marked centre line or centre line of the roadway, as the case may be, at the place the highway enters the intersection,

(c) after entering the intersection, turn the vehicle to the left so that it leaves the intersection to the right of the marked centre line of the roadway being entered, or if there is no marked centre line then to the right of the centre line of the roadway being entered, and,

(d) when practicable, turn the vehicle in the portion of the intersection to the left of the centre of the intersection.

Yes, you may pull into the intersection and wait for the safest opportunity to make a left turn on a green light. If opposing traffic runs the yellow and red lights from the opposite direction, the left turn vehicle should wait in the intersection. Once all traffic has come to a stop in the opposite direction, the left turn vehicle will now have the control of the intersection. Even if the light has turned red, the left turning vehicle that was left stranded in the intersection by the light runners now has the right of way at this point.

Arrows - Designated Traffic Control Lights

Section 130 (1) of the Motor Vehicle Act indicates that when a green arrow is exhibited at an intersection by a traffic control signal,

(a) the driver of a vehicle facing the green arrow may cause it to enter the intersection and to make only the movement indicated by the green arrow, but must yield the right of way to pedestrians lawfully in the intersection or in an adjacent crosswalk and to other vehicles lawfully in the intersection.

(2) When a yellow arrow is exhibited at an intersection by a traffic control signal,

(a) the driver of a vehicle approaching the intersection and facing a yellow arrow must cause the vehicle to stop

(i) before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or

(ii) before entering the intersection, if there is no marked crosswalk,
unless the stop cannot be made in safety,

(b) the driver of a motor vehicle approaching the intersection and facing the yellow arrow may, when a stop cannot be made in safety, proceed with caution to make the only movement indicated by the arrow but must yield the right of way to pedestrians lawfully in the intersection or in an adjacent crosswalk, and to other vehicles lawfully in the intersection.

Red Light

Section 129 (1) of the Motor Vehicle Act indicates that when a red light alone is exhibited at an intersection by a traffic control signal, the driver of a vehicle approaching the intersection and facing the red light must cause it to stop before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no marked crosswalk, before entering the intersection, and, must not cause the vehicle to proceed until a traffic control signal instructs the driver that he or she is permitted to do so.

In response to your second question, no you must wait for the green arrow in order to proceed.

Constable R.A.(Richard) ASELTON
Central Okanagan Traffic Services - Media Liaison


More Behind the Wheel articles

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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