Yielding on Left Turns
It's always dangerous when you turn left in an intersection. You usually have to cross over opposing lanes of traffic which leaves you vulnerable in a crash. It also exposes you to drivers who would never think that they might have to yield and let you turn left.
The rule in B.C. for turning left at an intersection requires that you yield to any opposing traffic in or approaching the intersection so closely that it would be a hazard. Having yielded as required, opposing traffic must now yield to you and allow you to make your left turn.
Never, ever expect the opposing drivers to follow this rule, even if you are at an intersection controlled by traffic lights that have turned yellow. In fact, this may be one of the more dangerous times to try and turn. Drivers wanting to get through before the red may not be watching for you.
It would be far safer to wait for the lights to turn red and all the opposing traffic to stop and then make your turn. In this situation you have right of way over cross traffic facing the green light to do so. It also assumes that you have properly entered the intersection on the green light to prepare for the turn.
As a licenced truck instructor and when I was a fleet driver trainer for a large Canadian fleet based in BC I had to be very careful when evaluating and coaching drivers to make sure they were aware of what was required for each jurisdiction they were in. In BC it was taught that large vehicles such as semis and buses fininshed left turns in the second from left lane (if there were more than one lane each way) as they usually needed that much room to turn anyway and that is the lane they were expected to be travelling in. Unfortunately car drivers think that if truck and bus drivers do this that they can too. In Alberta even trucks with trailers were expected to finish their turn in the left most lane just like cars. I agree that this is an excellent place to keep tuned up on what is going on in the driving world.
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Yes, (again) I agree this is a hard choice, especially for new drivers.
When I was teaching GLP students, I would refer them to that section, then offer that : if they followed the letter of the law, and always yielded the intersection to left turning vehicles, they would probably be involved in a few crashes - mostly from being hit from behind.
What is behind is at least as important as what is in front, if not more so.
I suggested to them that if it was not clear behind that , or if there was any doubt a tailing vehicle would / could stop, they should:
1 - Always watch ahead. Don't be caught by surprise when someone suddenly turns
2 - Make eye contact with the driver in the turning vehiclevif you can,
3 - Continue through. (The light will eventually change and the turning vehicle can safely turn)
4 - Make a decision. Do NOT hesitate (slow down then speed up, or speed up, then stop, Etc).
5 - Keep alert in case the driver suddenly turns. A rear end crash would probably hurt less than a head on.
Always fun out there, isn't it !