Left turn etiquette

by AP on July 10, 2016, no comments

intersection
The traffic in Proctor doesn’t typically bother me. It gets a little thick at times but I feel like I can get around pretty good.. until I am stopped in my tracks by left turners behind a green circle. There are two distinct brands of bad left turners that we need to address.

Unnecessary use of crowded intersections
The mildest offenders in the bunch, many of you who turn left onto Proctor Street from North 30th at 5:17pm..should turn sooner. There are multiple options to turn sooner (Alder, Union, etc.) and all of them will save you and the rest of us a lot of time. I realize some of you live on Proctor, and of course you are more than entitled to your left turn onto your street. It is the folks headed for Mason Middle School or Proctor Safeway that have much better routes to consider.

Sitting through an entire green light without moving
This is the group of people for which there is no excuse. AT LEAST ONE CAR MUST TURN LEFT ON EVERY GREEN CIRCLE, even if you finish your turn after the light has turned red. I understand there are a lot of people who do not see it this way. They are wrong. There is no excuse for sitting through an entire round of lights unless the intersection is physically blocked.

As our population density increases, so will our need for new left turn lanes and green arrow signals. Until then we should all do our part to follow the new world order of left turn etiquette to reduce traffic queues. Less waiting at intersections means improvements to the following:

  • Fuel efficiency
  • Air quality
  • Pedestrian safety
  • Traffic safety
  • Drive times
  • Frustration levels
  • Road rage statistics

In other words, by being a better left turner, you can save the world time, money and good health. Follow this simple checklist and you are on your way to being a better left turner:

New world order of left turn etiquette
  1. Avoid turning left at signal-controlled intersections lacking turn lanes or green arrow signals
  2. Enter the intersection when you have the right of way and your light is green
  3. Exit the intersection when you have the right of way and your path is clear
  4. Focus on pedestrians and oncoming vehicles at intersections, NOT the color of the light

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