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Old 06-18-2008, 10:22 AM
 
49 posts, read 228,294 times
Reputation: 39
Default Left Turn as light turns red, illegal?

Yesterday, as I was driving to pick up my son from school, I had to make a left turn at a busy intersection. The light was green, so I pulled halfway into the intersection and waited for oncoming traffic to clear. As the light turned yellow I inched forward and then as the light turn red, and oncoming traffic stopped, I completed my left hand turn. As I drove into the school parking lot a police officer pulled me over then lectured me for 10 minutes, telling me that I had technically run a red light. She said this was especially dangerous considering I had a 2 year old in the back seat. She let me off with a warning, so aside from being embarrassed in front of my older son's school (a couple of kids yelled out, "ooh, look, John's dad is in trouble"), this isn't a big deal. But I'm curious. Is what I did really illegal in Virginia (Arlington)? I was actually taught in my drivers ed class that you can complete a left hand turn on a red light
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Old 06-18-2008, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Gainesville, VA
1,168 posts, read 3,582,947 times
Reputation: 570
I've never heard that it was legal to turn left on a red. There's a reason why it's red... correct? A lot of times people pull into the middle of the intersection to turn left before the light goes red and people don't charge your car out of courtesy. Yes it is dangerous to you and your child. What's the rush? Can't you just wait until the next green light?
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Old 06-18-2008, 10:49 AM
 
Location: Mountain View, CA
1,010 posts, read 1,804,514 times
Reputation: 855
Quote:
Originally Posted by HEATHER72 View Post
I've never heard that it was legal to turn left on a red. There's a reason why it's red... correct? A lot of times people pull into the middle of the intersection to turn left before the light goes red and people don't charge your car out of courtesy. Yes it is dangerous to you and your child. What's the rush? Can't you just wait until the next green light?
Sometimes, in urban areas, without a left arrow, you will literally *never* get to go if you don't pull out then go on red. Its just a constant stream of traffic. Hence, what most people do, is pull out into the intersection on green, and go as soon as they can, which is usually as the light turns red so the traffic is stopped. I've never heard of this being illegal, as you are allowed to pull out on green to wait your turn, and if the light starts to go red it becomes a safety issue (you have to go to get out of the way). Now, if there IS a green arrow, methinks it is more appropriate NOT to pull out into the intersection, and to await the arrow. I wonder if the OP was in a lane that had an arrow?
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Old 06-18-2008, 10:53 AM
 
49 posts, read 228,294 times
Reputation: 39
There was no left hand turn signal at that light (probably should be). There was a steady stream of traffic and no break in it for a full green "cycle". So rather than wait for another green cycle, I completed the turn on red.
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Old 06-18-2008, 10:57 AM
 
112 posts, read 530,614 times
Reputation: 59
What you did was typical. You were waiting to turn left at an intersection and simply got caught in the middle as it was turning from yellow to red. Instead of impeding traffic by remaining there, you proceeded with your turn once all traffic was clear. The law states that all cars must yield to others within the intersection including pedestrians and other traffic. Technically you did turn on red however already being in the intersection, they must yield to you. If you were already in the middle of the intersection waiting to turn when the light was clearly green I don't see how you are in the wrong. However if it was turning yellow and you inched up and it turned red and you proceed to turn, I can see how that might get you into trouble even if that's done daily around here.
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Old 06-18-2008, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Apex, NC
2,153 posts, read 4,471,465 times
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Do people do it all the time? YES

Is it legal? NO
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Old 06-18-2008, 11:29 AM
 
Location: TX
3,029 posts, read 7,508,559 times
Reputation: 1271
^
That was my thought.
Common practice yes... legal NO.
That's why you got a warning.
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Old 06-18-2008, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, Va
2,393 posts, read 6,655,308 times
Reputation: 1903
No--you can't turn on red! You're supposed to stop on yellow--it's telling you that it's turning red! The only way you are legally allowed to go through a yellow light is if it turns yellow while you're in the intersection!
Even if the light is green, you can't enter an intersection unless you can TOTALLY clear that intersection!
Sometimes, it's easier to go past where you want to make a left, turn around, come back and make a right!
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Old 06-18-2008, 02:40 PM
 
1,718 posts, read 3,558,904 times
Reputation: 785
That's funny because that's the way it is in NJ. They are called jughandles. You have to make a right and loop around to go straight, which is actually LEFT of where you were coming from.
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Old 06-18-2008, 04:33 PM
 
36 posts, read 232,523 times
Reputation: 33
wow, this is the first time I heard of cops pulling people over for this. I thought this was legal...well ,at least in Cali. hell, they taught us this in driving school bak in HS
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