Turning left at complex intersection is takes driving to its highest level of multi-tasking. Watch the video.

Turning Left at Complex Intersections | Pass a Road Test




Hi there smart drivers. Rick with Smart Drive Test talking to you today about turning left at complex intersections. No doubt turning left at complex intersections, for new drivers, is probably one of the most challenging and most dangerous maneuvers that you can do. And the reason it's dangerous is because you are turning across the path of oncoming traffic, and potentially could be T-boned! T-bone crashes are now one of the most dangerous collisions that are experienced in road traffic.

We've more or less eliminated head-on collisions, which are probably the most dangerous and T-bones run a very close second to that. So it is important you give yourself enough space between you and oncoming traffic before you commit to the turn. As well, before you commit to the turn you need to be looking left while you're waiting, as well as when you're approaching the intersection to make sure that there aren't pedestrians and other road users in your path of travel as you're making your way through the intersection to turn left.

So you must scan thoroughly before you commit to the turn, and second you've got to give yourself enough space. Oftentimes, on a left-hand turn, you're going to need two to four blocks depending on the size of your vehicle, how fast it accelerates and other conditions on the roadway. For example, if vehicles are coming down the hill and those types of things - that might affect their speed and cause them to speed up. The faster they're going, the more space you're going to need. So what we're going to do today, we're going to hook up the cameras, we're going to go for a drive and give you some pointers and show you how to make a left hand turn at complex intersections. We'll be right back with that information - stick around.

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Hi there smart drivers, welcome back. Rick with Smart Drive test talking to you today about left-hand turns at complex intersections. We're gonna go for a drive here and give you some pointers about how to turn left at complex intersections. And the most important thing is to scan thoroughly and to scan just before you go, you want to scan left, center, right, and left again because the first traffic that's going to be approaching is going to be approaching from the left. And that's potentially the traffic that could strike you.

So we're gonna go for drive and show you how to do a left-hand turn. OK, we're approaching the intersection, we have pedestrians on the left, but there's no pedestrians on the other side. We have cars turning left, pedestrians approaching, and we're turning. Into the left-hand lane, and we signal immediately to the right. And this car beside me - I need to wait for him because he's obviously not seeing my signal.

And... so mirror, signal, shoulder check - merging over to the right. And I leave my signal on until I'm completely in the lane. And I stopped so that I can see the rear tires of the vehicle in front of me making clear contact with the pavement. Checking my mirrors. There's nobody behind me. The light's just about to change. Mirror, signal, shoulder check. And I shoulder checked again immediately, and I scan the intersection.

Stopping Position in Traffic

And I stop again so that I can see clear contact - the tires making clear contact with the pavement - the blue Jeep in front of me. And even though we're in a school zone here and we're going slowly, we're going to maintain that distance from the vehicle in front of me. We're not going to get any closer than being able to see the tires making clear contact with the pavement. There's nobody in the crosswalk. Scanning the railway crossing. Preparing to turn left at the traffic light. Mirror, signal, shoulder check.

Getting Into the Turning Lane Immediately

Moving into the left turning lane as soon as it starts. Put my signal back on because it cancelled. We're going to come up. We can see that the lane signs above there tell us that we can turn left. We stop when the stop line just goes underneath - when it disappears under the front of the car is when you come to a stop. We're checking the traffic - there is one turning and there's a line of traffic behind. We're also checking for pedestrians in the intersection and other road users and I don't see any. So what we're going to do when the light changes - were watching the light on the other side here, it's gone to yellow.

And now it's going to go to red. It's gone to red - we have two seconds from the time that one turns red to the time yours turns green. We're going to move forward here so the front wheels of the vehicle are on the front crosswalk line - that way we're committed to the intersection, but we're not in the intersection if something goes wrong. Now I can't see past this car, so I'm going to move forward because I think it's clear, but it's not clear. I have a vehicle that's turning and I want to turn in behind him. So we're going to turn behind him and now we proceed.

And we're going stay in the left-hand lane here because we're going to turn left at the second traffic light. Left hand - mirror, signal, shoulder check - moving into the left lane immediately - the left turning lane, and again we're going to move up because we have a green - we're going to move up and we can go. We're checking here - we're shoulder checking to make sure there's nobody coming around on the slip lane.

Turning Left

OK, turning left - mirror, signal, shoulder check. We have a turning lane here - we're moving into the turning lane immediately as soon as it starts so nobody gets in beside us. And again we have a green light - we have pedestrians and we can go. We have a vehicle - we're going pull in behind that vehicle. Look in the direction we want to go and proceed. And we move to the left of our lane, but still stay right of center. So we're on a two-lane here - we stopped before the stop line and are having a little trouble seeing, so I'm going to move up here just a little bit until I can see.

And because it's let-out for school we got lots of traffic here. I need to roll down the window a little bit to help defrost the window. K -still lots of traffic. [LAUGHING] That vehicle just turned in front of him - oh excellent! K. [WHAT? DAUGHTER IN BACK SEAT] That person cut that other person off. I probably got it on video! [UNFORTUNATELY, I DIDN'T.]

Painted Islands

Now the other thing here is that the I can't get into the turning lane because there's a painted island on my left and the vehicle in front of me - there is enough space between the painted island and the vehicle in front of me. So do not squeeze between there and drive over that painted island for the purposes of a road test. You have to wait until this traffic proceeds forward before you can go through there to get into the turning lane. So for the purposes of a road test, if you're in this situation, just wait here and when the traffic moves forward, then you can move into the turning lane.

So the traffic is moving forward now because the light has turned to green and we can proceed forward. Do not drive on that painted island - treat it as if it's cement. Mirror, signal, shoulder check again. Move into the turning lane. And again we have a green light, so we're going to move forward so the front tires are on the forward crosswalk line - that we we're committed to the turn, but we're not in the intersections in case something happens.

Scanning the crossroad - nothing there. We're creeping forward and we're turning into the left-hand turning lane. And again we're going to turn left up here, so we're going to stay in the left-hand lane.

Road Speed as Quickly as Possible

And we're going to accelerate quickly as possible to get up to road speed. It is 50 kilometers an hour (30mph), unless otherwise posted in the city. So we don't see any speed signs, so I'm assuming it's 50kph (30mph) and I'm doing just a little over 40kph (26mph). I'm also sort of matching my speed to the conditions of the road. And I'm coming up here and there's a vehicle pulling out here.

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Covering the Brake

I just want to cover my brake in case he pulls into my lane. The vehicle stayed in its lane and again I want to put my signal on. Mirror, signal, shoulder check, and move into the left-hand turning lane as soon as it starts. And again I have a green light, so again I've come up - front tires on the front cross walk line. And I stopped - I checked the cross traffic. I have pedestrians over there - they will be clear by the time I get a clearing, and I'm going to start turning when I get to the center lane over there. And again I'm probably going to have to go on the yellow. The traffic - I'm moving straight forward - the traffic has stopped.

I look where I want to go on the inside left lane and I proceed. And again I got my right signal on because I'm moving directly over to the right. And I leave my signal on all the way until I am completely in the lane. I cancel my signal and I put my signal back on because I'm turning right and again I have my own lane.These two lanes go into the other lane, and I'll put a video up here for you on slip lane supplementals - about how to determine that if you've got your own lane when you're making a right in turn at a complex intersections. And we're going to turn left. So we don't want to do it in the intersection back there. Go past the intersection - mirror, signal, shoulder check.


And move over to the left-hand lane. Ensure that you're completely in the lane before you cancel your signal. Actually I cancelled my signal a little bit early there. I should have left it on just a touch longer. Again left mirror, signal, shoulder check into the left-hand turning lane. As soon as it starts - and we're going to stop at the stop line because it's a red light here. Stop at the stop line so it just rolls under the front of the vehicle - as soon as it rolls under the front of the vehicle and disappears, that when you come to a stop.

Hands on the steering wheel - we're checking the traffic - lots of through traffic, so we're just going to move up so the front tires are on the front crosswalk line. We're checking the cross road - there's no traffic in the crossroad. This light is gone to red, my light is gone to green. Now I move up so my front tires are on the front crosswalk line. And again, as soon as I get to that center white line over there--there's two lanes--as soon as I get to that center line, I start turning.


Now I'm watching the traffic here, the through traffic. Lots of through traffic. There's a fairly big gap down there, but it's going to be a moment before it gets here. And again I'm checking the cross road, and I might have to go on the yellow. Again I just keep my eye on the light and make sure that it doesn't change on me. And as soon as it changes, I get ready to go. Again checking the crossroad to make sure there's nobody there. The light has gone the yellow, the vehicles are stopping, and I proceed. And I check the merge lane to make sure there's nobody coming. And there's nobody coming, so we can proceed.


Quick review of left-hand turn at complex intersections. As you're approaching the turn, scan the intersection thoroughly for other road users - cars, trucks, pedestrians, people on scooters, and cyclists. All of those need to be scanned at the intersection. If you have a left-hand turning lane, get into the left-hand turning lane immediately. I cannot stress that enough - you need to get in there immediately because you don't want to drive past it because you could potentially cause a conflict.

And when you get up to the intersection, if you have to wait then stop before the stop line. If you're going to proceed to make the turn, but you have to stop and wait for traffic to clear and have a gap in the traffic, then you want to put the front wheels of your vehicle on the front crosswalk line. That way you're committed to the intersection, but you're not in the intersection if something happens.

As well, while you're waiting, you're thoroughly scanning - your continuing to scan the crossroad because there could be pedestrians that approach and start to move through the intersection. If those pedestrians move through the intersection, they have the right-of- way. As well, you're watching the other traffic light because there's a two-second delay from the time that the cross road traffic light turns red to the time that yours turns green. As well, you're watching that and watching any sign to indicate that your lights going to go to amber, because of your light goes amber, you're probably going to have to go through on the yellow light.

And remember, if you get into the intersection on the yellow - you own the intersection. So look where you're going and try to expediently clear the intersection. But if you have to stop in that intersection - you own that intersection. So move through the intersection on the amber if the traffic clears. You can't sit there across the crosswalk for the purposes of a road test - you have to clear the intersection.

As well, once you move through the intersection when you start turning, if you're on a single lane-- two roads that meet and intersect--you start turning when you're in line with the curb of the left-hand turn. If there's subsequent lanes, then you wait till you get to the white line. And I'll draw a picture for you - actually what I'll do is I'll put up another video to show you where to start turning when you're making a left-hand turn, which will just make it easier for you.

As well, I'll put the complete steps for turning left on the website and I'll put a link down in the comments section. Check down there for the complete steps over at my website. And you can find those steps over there.

Question for my smart drivers:

Have you had a near miss when making a left-hand turn?

I know I have. Leave a comment down in the comment section - tell us your story. All that helps us out. And any tips you might have for turning left and being safe at left-hand turns because they are dangerous and they are challenging, especially for new drivers. I'm Rick with Smart Drive Test. Thanks very much for watching. If you like what you see here share, subscribe, leave a comment down in the comment section. All that helps us out. As well, hit that thumbs up button. Check out the videos below - check out the cards in the upper right-hand corner if you're on a mobile device. All those will give you links to the great information here on the channel if you're endeavoring to pass a license or if you're working towards a career as a truck or bus driver. Lots of great information for that as well. Thanks again for watching. Good luck on your road test. And remember, pick the best answer, not necessarily the right answer. Have a great day. Bye now.