In an article Nov. 26 (“A dangerous crossroads”) in The Telegram regarding collisions at the intersection of Prince Philip Parkway and Allandale Road, a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer was quoted as saying that “a major problem has been that drivers making a (left) turn edge out to the middle of the intersection, which is against the law..... and all of a sudden, the light turns yellow, they proceed to turn, the light turns red, the light in the opposite lane turns green and you have an accident.”
While this may very well be a major problem, it is not, in fact, against the law to enter an intersection on a green light to make a left turn, while waiting for oncoming traffic to clear, provided it is done properly. To quote Section 119 of the Highway Traffic Act: “Where a driver is within an intersection and intends to turn left, he or she shall yield the right-of-way to traffic that is approaching from the opposite direction .... but, having yielded and given a signal .... he or she may make a left turn and traffic approaching the intersection from the opposite direction shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle making the left turn.”
As someone who has sat behind a driver through several lights (in other words, no arrow) who refuses to enter an intersection on the green, I contend that, while it is not only perfectly legal to enter an intersection to turn left, it is absolutely necessary to promote the flow of traffic.
If accidents are being caused by left-turning vehicles being hit by drivers entering the intersection on a fresh green, it is those drivers who are breaking the law.
As someone who has sat behind a driver through several lights (in other words, no arrow) who refuses to enter an intersection on the green, I contend that, while it is not only perfectly legal to enter an intersection to turn left, it is absolutely necessary to promote the flow of traffic. Further to that, how many times does one witness a driver who is partially into the intersection, only to back up across the crosswalk to get back behind the line when the light turns yellow? Now that is against the law.
I don’t blame The Telegram for putting this incorrect information on the front page, where those drivers whom I have been silently yelling at all these years can confirm that they are perfect drivers, but I hope this letter serves to correct what is apparently a widespread misconception. It’s just unfortunate that the people charged with enforcing the laws also have it wrong.