Q&A - Left Turn on Yellow

Q&A ImageIs it within the Motor Vehicle Act to enter an intersection on a yellow light with the intent to turn left only if you stop first before entering the intersection?

Same question except you don't stop before you enter the intersection.



A yellow light requires that you stop before entering the intersection unless it is unsafe to do so:

Yellow light

128  (1) When a yellow light alone is exhibited at an intersection by a traffic control signal, following the exhibition of a green light,

(a) the driver of a vehicle approaching the intersection and facing the yellow 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, unless the stop cannot be made in safety,

So, your example number one is definitely illegal. You've stopped so you must stay stopped until the light turns green again. Example two will also be illegal if it is safe for you to stop.

It has nothing to do with turning left, specifically!

Two things that I've always tried to make clear to new drivers, in order to help them not only to pass their Road Test, but to drive legally and successfully where traffic lights are concerned.

  1. Traffic lights do NOT control vehicles that are IN an intersection; at that point, they're irrelevant except as an indicator of how potentially conflicting pedestrians and vehicles should now behave, and you will then be able to make a safe exit from the intersection.  Hopefully they will stop and wait for the next 'Walk' signal or Green Light; all too often though, they do the opposite and run or accelerate against the 'Don't Walk' or Yellow ... or Red, for pity's sake.
  2. Doesn't matter if you're turning left or right; if you haven't gotten yourself into the intersection (past the second crosswalk line with your front tires is a good 'guide') and the light turns yellow then you're stuck until the next green.  Sometimes very hard to achieve when turning left into a one-way street without any parking lane, incidentally.  Oh and if you're going straight, but couldn't exit the intersection you entered for some reason, then you're probably in contradiction of Section 189 (1) (c) and shouldn't be there in the first place even if the light was green on your approach.
  3. Yeah I know I said two things, but there's another that I think is related; a Yellow Arrow must be obeyed in EXACTLY the same manner as a Yellow Solid light - despite what you may see on a daily basis where you drive.

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