Advanced search

To have waited for the green arrow at the traffic lights before turning right?

(33 Posts)
superstarheartbreaker Wed 17-Jul-13 18:19:45

I have only been driving for a short time so I would like to be corrected if need be.
I was at a crossroads today and I wanted to turn right. I was at the front of the queue.I normally wait for the green arrow rather than the green light and it sometimes can be a bit slow.
Anyway I waited but no green arrow and there was oncoming traffic coming towards me at the green light. It was taking some time then the man behind me got out of his car and asked if I was ok as I had missed two green lights.
I couldn't be bothered to argue and just turned right at the next green light but I still thought the normal procedure was to wait for the green arrow unless there is no oncoming traffic at a green light when turning
Trouble is I have been honked once or twice whilst waiting for this green arrow so I guess it's one of those traffic rules that noone abides be?

wanderings Wed 17-Jul-13 19:58:50

The person who spoke to you was referring to that moment when the lights go amber, and by then you would be in the middle; that's the moment you're supposed to turn, before the other road gets green.

wanderings Wed 17-Jul-13 19:57:12

You'd still wait in the middle to turn right, even at a small crossroads (if you are the first one there.) A waiting place is not always marked. You only have to wait back behind the line if there is a green arrow for ahead or left, and a red light for turning right. If you are the second or third car there, you should only wait in the middle if there is space for your car. Some small crossroads only have enough room for one car to wait in the middle; but that one car really must move to the middle when they have a green!

It might be that you have to wait in the middle for a solid stream of oncoming traffic, with no gap until the lights change again, perhaps 20 or 30 cars. This is normal.

If the lights then turn to amber while you are in the middle (you may or may not see the lights then), you may still turn. When your lights go amber, so do the ones facing the oncoming traffic, so they will have to stop. So you should go as soon as you see the oncoming traffic slowing down to stop.

(Not wanting to scare you, but very very occasionally it can happen that a car gets stuck in the middle; they are still there after the lights have changed, and the other road now has a green light. This can happen if:
- Some of the traffic coming towards you disobeys their red light.
- Pedestrians cross the road you intend to turn into; you of course have to give way to them, as you are turning.
- You are too slow to move off from the middle after the lights have changed to amber, and the oncoming traffic has stopped.
It is very rare to get stuck like that; if it happens, keep the car ready to move, and go as soon as you can. Be careful if you have to cross more than one lane of traffic.)

trinity0097 Wed 17-Jul-13 19:29:54

I failed my 'mock' driving test by doing exactly what the OP did. If it is safe to go and the light is green then a round green means go in any direction, unless there is a special signal for the lane turning with a red light on it.

SpottyTeacakes Wed 17-Jul-13 19:28:20

Is your indicator light working? wink

Euphemia Wed 17-Jul-13 19:26:36

Maybe there were chancey gaps i.e. gaps a more experienced/confident driver would have taken?

superstarheartbreaker Wed 17-Jul-13 19:24:43

Must make it clear that it is a very small crossroads with no real safe waiting place in the middle . On a larger crossroads I would wait nearer the centre.

superstarheartbreaker Wed 17-Jul-13 19:23:33

Ok so now I know; green arrow definately go (it is a filter).
Green light; wait for a gap and go.
Just as I suspected.

Trouble is there was no safe gap to turn right so not sure what he was banging on about. Must be the heat!

Euphemia Wed 17-Jul-13 19:17:10

I don't understand how you could miss two green lights, given that you'd be out in the junction waiting to turn right, wouldn't you? Then when your green light turned red, you'd be in the way of traffic coming from your right!


thatstoast Wed 17-Jul-13 19:07:20

I'm a bit confused by your post because you seem to be implying that there was always oncoming traffic - in which case it's obvious you couldn't have turned right.

You also say you missed two sets of green, which implies that the filter light wasn't on so the driver behind was right to prompt you otherwise you would have been there all day.

In most circumstances, you can turn right on green (as others say, there's not always a filter arrow) but oncoming traffic has right of way.

How long have you been driving?

garlicagain Wed 17-Jul-13 18:49:15

Sorry, I know we're all saying the same. It's just easier for OP to have a choice of explanation styles!

garlicagain Wed 17-Jul-13 18:48:23

You generally get filter lights (arrows) when there is a filter lane. This is a special lane only for those turning off. They can be left or right filters. The filter lane has a turning arrow painted on the road. Some filter lanes don't have arrow lights.

If the main traffic light is round, green means you can go (not you must go!) The difference is that when you go on the main, round, green light, you'll then have to negotiate the traffic coming the other way - wait for a safe gap and all that. When a filter arrow goes green, the oncoming traffic has been stopped.

kim147 Wed 17-Jul-13 18:44:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrslyman Wed 17-Jul-13 18:42:33

I think it depends. I was being beeped at a turn right recently, there was no oncoming traffic but the lights have a forward pointing green arrow and the right filter has a red light of its own, so to turn i'd have had to go through a red light.

If the filter operates at the end of a full round green light section then you can turn on full green, and you should pull forward to start the man over. I noticed the other day at a junction failing to pull forward means the filter isn't activated.

It is sometimes hard to work out what to do
Though particularly if you aren't familiar with the road.

Wabbitty Wed 17-Jul-13 18:40:29

easy explanation in pictures

SacreBlue Wed 17-Jul-13 18:39:11

Sometimes a filter light won't come on unless you move forward a bit. There is a junction near me with two lanes leading up, a green light for straight ahead (or turn if clear) and a filter arrow for turning right (which stops traffic in peak times *provided there is a car needing to turn right*)

If there is no car in front of the white line it won't come on (as then it would be blocking onward traffic without need)

One poor girl awhile ago sat through two green lights and there was much beeping of horns - at least that chap got out and asked if everything was ok may have thought you'd stalled

Just pull forward a bit in future - it lets those behind out if they want to go straight ahead and will activate any sensor to let the lights know there is a car needing to turn.

wanderings Wed 17-Jul-13 18:38:39

Green only: you should turn right as soon as you can, while giving way to oncoming traffic. (And if there's a yellow box junction, you DO wait in it, if your exit is clear, and you are waiting for oncoming traffic.)

Green arrow: you no longer have to give way to oncoming traffic. Rarely this arrow appears immediately.

This green arrow does not always appear. As others have said, it only appears at peak times, or sometimes it detects if lots of traffic is waiting to turn right. Waiting in the middle and NOT turning when there is a possibility is the wrong thing to do.

The Highway Code is actually very bad at explaining this green arrow. Its main explanation of the green arrow is this long sentence: "A green arrow may be provided in addition to the full green signal if movement in a certain direction is allowed before or after the full green phase."

PseudoBadger Wed 17-Jul-13 18:37:08

Have you passed your test OP?

Bumply Wed 17-Jul-13 18:36:02

Some junctions have a separate light for turning right. If its red you can't go, if its green arrow you can go and there's no opposing traffic.
Some junctions have one light which is green with no arrow to go straight on OR right if there's no opposing traffic and turns to a green arrow when it's definitely your turn to turn right.
If your junction changed from red to green more than once without showing an arrow then you have to turn when there's no opposing traffic, generally by moving into the middle of the road and slipping right just as the lights change round - noting that there may only be room for the lead car in the queue to do this safely each cycle.

RedHelenB Wed 17-Jul-13 18:33:50

Some junctions state you HAVE to wait for the green arrow before turning right (usualluy on busy junctions) otherwise you wait for a gap in the traffic & turn.

frasersmummy Wed 17-Jul-13 18:31:04

so was the filter (green arrow not working)

if it wasn't you just have to go in a gap and if there really isn't one.. move forward over the stop line and wait .. just as the traffic coming towards you is given the red you can turn as you are over the stop line and will block the junction otherwise

ThePerfectFather Wed 17-Jul-13 18:29:40

You will be able to see if there is a filter (that's what it's called) because there will be a little extra light stuck on the side of the traffic light box. If there is just a green light then you are meant to nose out a bit into the area where people turn across oncoming traffic. This allows people behind you to go straight ahead, while you sit and wait for either the lights to change (in which case the oncoming traffic will stop, and you can quickly go) or for a decent sized gap.

Did you never turn right in any of your lessons? I'm hoping this might be of help to you

SpottyTeacakes Wed 17-Jul-13 18:29:15

We have one of these traffic light systems near us. The green arrow only shows at peak times when there's unlikely to be a break in the oncoming traffic. If there's a gap and it's just on the normal green light you can go.

RobotBananas Wed 17-Jul-13 18:28:39

If its clear, and the arrow is in addition to traffic lights fir that lane, and the light is green, you can go. You don't have to wait for the filter.

ashley69ly Wed 17-Jul-13 18:28:32

Is this a junction you use often so know has a right turn arrow. Not every junction with traffic lights has one. Most you just move forward when the green light shows and wait in the middle until a suitable gap in the oncoming traffic to make your right turn.

LittleBearPad Wed 17-Jul-13 18:28:01

If there's a gap sufficient to turn, you turn. You don't have to wait for an arrow if there's a green light.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now