Intersections: creating a safe encounter.

Intersections: creating a safe encounter.

An usual sign at a dangerous intrsection.

INTERSECTIONS: CREATING A SAFE ENCOUNTER

Creating a buffer zone.

Scan the intersection, identify potential conflicts and mentally determine the best course of action, should the worst-case scenario occur; thereby, executing the determined response in good time.

When approaching an intersection

You can by scanning ahead, determine in advance if the light has been green for a long time (stale green) and is potentially ready to change to yellow. Lifting your right foot off the accelerator when you reach the solid white lane dividing line stop if the light were to turn yellow. If the light remains green however, you can go through. Using this method, your speed will only be reduced one to two mph and you can safely navigate the intersection. By scanning in advance, you will also determine the lane that you should be in, the traffic patterns of the intersection, the activity of the intersection and check for any vehicles that are traveling too fast and may be running the red light. S

Look before entering:

Always come to a full stop before the stop sign. Scan left, right and then left again, as that is where your traffic is approaching from. If you are unable to see clearly, DO NOT PULL OUT, but do drift forward until you can see the blocked line of sight.

Roundabouts.

Many intersections are being converted to a round about type of intersection. These roundabouts serve to lessen the conflict of T-bone encounters, and to slow traffic down.

Driving through roundabouts

Always yield to traffic already in a roundabout 

Use the center lane to go straight, turn left, u turn

Use the outer lane to go right or straight

Yield to traffic already in the round about

Never pass a large truck or drive beside a large truck in a roundabout

Pedestrians should use the designated walk way in crossing a round about

Only experienced bicyclist should ride through a roundabout, others should cross at the cross walk, pushing their bicycle

When approached from the rear by an emergency vehicle entering a roundabout, continue through your turn and then pull over outside the roundabout.

Yielding the Right of Way in Intersections

  • Drivers are required to yield to traffic already in the intersection
  • When you are the first person in an intersection, look both ways to watch for cars running the red light
  • If you are the second car to enter the intersection, put space between you and the car in front of you, allowing them to enter the intersection safely first.
  • Entering traffic at any of the following circumstances you must yield to traffic that is already there.

T- intersection :

When approaching at intersection for a turn, stop, look left, look right and look left again before proceeding. Always check left last as this is where the traffic is coming from. It should take you 9 seconds in a 35 mph zone and 11 seconds in a 55 mph zone to make a right turn and regain the speed of the moving traffic. Turning left should take you 11 seconds in a 35 mph zone, and 13 seconds in a 55 mph zone. If you are having difficulty determining if you can precede, count how many seconds back the approaching vehicle is in order to determine if a vehicle is far enough away for you to enter the traffic. Never try to beat a heavy vehicle. The stopping distance for large vehicles is increased with weight

Side streets

Vehicles entering a major thoroughfare from a side street must always yield to vehicle already on the main thoroughfare.

Turning left

An unprotected left turn (no green arrow, but solid green light) must yield to oncoming traffic. Proceed to the middle of the intersection on the green light and wait with your tires straight (in case of a rear end collision you will not be pushed into oncoming traffic) until the way is clear for you to turn. Even if the light turns yellow or red, the rest of the traffic must wait until you have cleared the intersection before proceeding.

Always signal your intentions to turn!

Right Turns

Turn from the far right lane to the far right lane. Do not change lanes in the intersection. Be sure to turn right from the right lane, then signal and change lanes if your lane ends, or you need to enter the left lane. 

  • Always signal
  • Be sure you are in the proper turn lane
  • Check traffic to your left, straight, right and then left again
  • Check your blind spot for bicycles or pedestrians before turning
  • Turn right on red at any intersection, unless prohibited by no right turn sign
  • Watch your light for green arrow
  • Yield to vehicles already in the intersection
  • Yield to vehicles doing U turns
  • Yield to vehicles making protected left turns
  • Slow down before your turn to 10 mph
  • Begin your turn when your right side mirror is in line with the curb
  • Maintain your speed through the turn with light pressure on the accelerator
  • Accelerate after the turn with a steady pressure on the accelerator to reenter the flow of traffic
  • Stay in the far right lane when you turn, right lane to right lane
  • Take 9 seconds to complete your turn in a 35 mph zone, including returning to speed to enter the flow of traffic
  • Take 11 seconds when turning left in a 55 mph zone

Left turns

Always signal, even if you are in a turn lane, still signal! 

  • Left turns are allowed at any intersection not marked with a no left turn sign
  • Check for no left turn signs
  • Be sure you are in the proper turn lane
  • Check traffic to your left, straight, right, then left again
  • Watch your light for green arrow (protected left)
  • Yield to oncoming traffic at solid green light (unprotected left), blinking yellow or yellow arrow
  • At unprotected left enter into intersection, keep wheels pointing straight ahead, yield to oncoming traffic, then turn. You may even have your light turn yellow or red, but you can complete your turn, as all other traffic must yield to traffic already in the intersection.
  • Be sure to make a “squared “turn, not a 45 degree turn
  • Stay in the same lane when you cross over, far left to far left, center to center
  • Watch turn lines to stay in your lane when using multiple left turn lanes.
  • Stagger your car with other vehicles turning with you in order to stay out of blind spots
  • Maintain your speed through the turn with light pressure on the accelerator
  • Accelerate after the turn with a steady pressure on the accelerator

Take 11 seconds to make a left turn and return to 35-45mph 
Take 13 seconds to make left turn and return to 55 mph
 

U-turns

  • Always signal
  • U turns are allowed in Virginia at any intersection where left turns are allowed and there is not a no u-turn sign
  • Be sure you are in left turn lane
  • Check traffic to your left, straight, right, then left again
  • Watch your light for green arrow (protected left)
  • Yield to oncoming traffic at solid green light (unprotected left)
  • At unprotected left enter into intersection, keep wheels pointing straight ahead, yield to oncoming traffic, then turn. You may even have your light turn yellow or red, but you can turn as all other traffic must yield to traffic already in the intersection
  • At tight intersections, go forward to use part of the cross road if necessary
  • Do no swing out into the lane to your right in order to U turn
  • Accelerate when you are at turning point, allowing wheels to straighten
  • Maintain your speed through the turn with light pressure on the accelerator
  • Accelerate after the turn with a steady pressure on the accelerator