Originally Posted on September 12, 2015 by Alan Beckley
Drivers face a myriad challenges on the road, and nowhere are they more concentrated than at intersections. The thought of approaching an intersection, especially one with a traffic signal, can make even the best drivers a bit nervous. Will I make the light? Or will it turn red on me? One thing that I find quite helpful is to check my rear-view mirror as I near intersections controlled by a traffic light. Knowing if anyone is behind you, and how close they are, can be the deciding factor on whether to try to make the light if it turns yellow.
A yellow light means “CAUTION” and that the light is getting ready to turn red. It does not mean “put the pedal to the metal”! However, stopping for it at all costs can be dangerous. If someone is indeed following closely behind you, slamming on the brakes for the yellow light is likely to result in getting rear-ended. Remember, you want to slow down and stop for the light, but you must do so SAFELY. In some cases it may be better to go on through the yellow light than hope that the guy behind you hits his brakes in time.
Another point of confusion is when waiting to make a left turn. Some drivers prefer to wait behind the limit line, and some pull up into the intersection to wait. The latter is what I call “taking” the intersection, and is perfectly legal. In fact, some intersections are so busy, taking the intersection may be the only way to make the light. Do not go more than half way, however, as opposing traffic also needs room to do the same. And while you are yielding to oncoming cars, keep your wheels straight. Turning the steering wheel to the left may seem like a good idea to quickly make your turn, but if you are hit from behind, you are going to be pushed into oncoming traffic! Keeping your wheels straight will prevent that predicament.
One last thing about intersections -- When you get the green light, ALWAYS look both ways before proceeding through it. Yes, you do have the right of way, but that won’t matter much if some lead-foot decides to run the red light and smashes into you.
That’s my take on intersections. Stay alert…Stay alive!
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