Stopping in Intersections
In Penticton there is a left hand turning lane from Fairview Road onto the Channel Parkway. Industrial Avenue intersects Fairview Road close to that intersection. Often if there is a line up of cars in the left hand turning lane, some will leave a space for cars to go through from Industrial onto Fairview. I wondered if this is what you are supposed to do or if this just makes it more dangerous because those passing through onto Fairview may not be able to see traffic from the other lane on Fairview.
The drivers that leave the intersection clear are the drivers who are complying with the law. Unless there is a sign posted advising drivers that they may stop, stand or park within the intersection, it is illegal to do so. I have yet to find a sign like this in my travels but the possibility of it does exist.
You are correct in observing that the stopped traffic presents a significant view obstruction for vehicles making use of this gap to cross traffic. The driver doing the turning has a poor view of cross traffic and the cross traffic in turn may have difficulty seeing the vehicle turning. It is legal to make this turn if it is safe to do so but more than the normal caution needs to be taken by all traffic present, not just the driver that is turning.
In a previous column on May 3, 2006 yielding to traffic entering an intersection after stopping was examined. Many through drivers are astounded to find that they may be required to yield to traffic using the gap to turn onto Fairview Road.
When you consider that more than half of all collisions in British Columbia occur at intersections, it may be a valid strategy to turn right instead of left and proceed to an open intersection where you can turn left and double back. The few minutes used to do this may be all that is needed to keep adding to the crash percentage.