June 4, 2010

To The Terrified Woman Who Drove A Gray 1980's Thunderbird This Morning

My good woman, should you again find yourself at a four-way stoplight and desirous of turning to the street on your left, might I be so bold as to offer some advice about how you might accomplish this task in a more expeditious fashion than you did earlier today?

When the light controlling your side of the intersection turns green, you will notice that there is no green left-turn arrow.*  This should not alarm you.  Instead, ease your foot off the brake pedal and allow your vehicle to slowly creep out into the intersection, about one car length.  Then wait for oncoming traffic to clear.  When you have enough space, remove your foot from the brake entirely, and accelerate into a left turn.

Should the light turn red while you are in the intersection, it means "complete your left turn immediately, so as not to block cross traffic and create a hazard."  It does not mean "press your foot on your brake as hard as you can and stare in panicked paralysis at all the vehicles honking their horns at you for forty seconds until the light turns green again."

I rather suspect that this scenario -- having to turn left at a stoplight without a special left-turn arrow -- will arise for you again.  It's one of those life challenges that is readily susceptible of repetition.  So if you remember this technique, you will be able to get where you are going faster, and more importantly, you will inconvenience other drivers like, say, ME, a whole lot less.

On behalf of every other driver in the state of California, I thank you in advance.

* If there were separate signals for left turns, it would, by definition, no longer be a four-way stoplight.


Anonymous said...
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Burt Likko said...

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DaveBuck said...

Half way and hold.

That's exactly what I was taught in drivers ed!