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Beware the "Left Turn Signal" - it could be the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing on your driver's test.

 Turning Left at 'Left Turn Signal' | Turning Smart




Hi there smart drivers Rick with Smart Drive Test.

A quick tip for turning smart, particularly for drivers learning to turn left.

I had a comment from Tuffyute Prod.

The other day and she wanted some more detail about turning left at a traffic light that had a left-turning arrow - an advanced green as we call it here in Canada and through traffic that's green.

And we talked about the fact that on left-turning arrow you have the right-of-way.

Now obviously, just keep in mind that the right-of-way is never taken, the right away is always given.

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And essentially what that means:

if there's vehicles in the intersection that you could potentially strike, you can't go, but for the most part on a left turn arrow on an advanced green, you're going to have the right-of-way when turning left.

If you have a through traffic light and there's a green light you have to give the right-of-way to oncoming traffic.

And when the way is clear, you can proceed.

The point that came up with that discussion was 'left turn signals' at some intersections - there will be a traffic light that specifically controls the left turning traffic, and it is for that lane of traffic.

So if the 'left turn signal' light is red and the through traffic light is green, you cannot go - you have to stay in the left turning lane and cannot proceed until that left turn signal turns green.

Left Turn Signal Regulatory SignPassing a Road Test

Unfortunately I had a student some years ago who failed on that very point.

The left-turn signal was red; the through traffic was green and he moved to proceed through the intersection.

Unfortunately because he moved to proceed through the intersection on a red light he was NOT successful on his road test.

So take note of that.

And you can see in the image here the sign that will be below the traffic light that says 'left turn signal', so take note of that.

Because on your road test you're going to have all your adrenaline pumping and it's hard because you're focusing and concentrating.

So know that that sign could be there and there could be a traffic light that specifically controls left turning traffic, and you can only go when that light is green.

Physical Size of Traffic Lights

Just one other note: the physical size of the traffic lights - the left turning traffic signal and the through traffic traffic signal will be very different sizes, as you can see here in the image.

The left turning traffic signal is much shorter than the through traffic traffic signal, which gives it a very different characteristic and is for you to distinguish the left turning traffic signal.

And the image on the right here, the through traffic and the left turn signal light are the same height and it's difficult to discern that.

I think that's why my student failed because these are images from London Ontario, when I was teaching there.

And that's where we were when that student failed.

Hire A Driving School to Do a Mock Driving Test

Now one other point about this is that, as I say again and again - always, always do a mock road test before you go and do your license test.

When you do a mock road test and a driving school takes you out they will take you to the specific intersections and be able to point out that in fact there is a left turn signal.

So always do a mock driving test with a driving school if you're not taking driving lessons!

intersection with a 'Left Turn Signal' and that traffic light is substanially smaller than the through traffic light.Question for my smart drivers:

Have you been caught out by a left turn signal?

In other words, were you deceived - did you try and go when the through traffic light was green and figured out that before it was too late that the turn signal is in fact red and you couldn't go.

Leave a comment down in the comment section, all that helps us out.


I'm Rick with Smart Drive Test - thanks very much for watching.

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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.



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khamelion81's Avatar
khamelion81 replied the topic: #151 10 months 2 weeks ago
the red turn lights are new here. my entire life, up until a couple months ago, i have never seen or even heard of this. this has left a LOT of people here trying to discern their meaning and the proper, safe course of action. the main thing that i do not understand is why they do not turn green when the through traffic light does, but do maybe 10-15 seconds afterwards... i take this to mean that one is not allowed to proceed through left turn even when no one is coming, or even on the road anywhere near the intersection for that matter. if i'm stopped at a red light in turn lane and the through traffic light turns green and no one is coming or was waiting at light opposite me, i should still be allowed to go

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