Risky business


Boris Starosta: The issue of creeping across the stop bar at an intersection, while trying to make a left turn in front of on-coming traffic is inherently dangerous [“Intersection rage,” Mailbag, February 12, 2008]. Although our politicians haven’t written and passed a specific law prohibiting this behavior, it is aggressive and risky.
Virginia Traffic Code (46.2-846) entitled “Required Position and Method of Turning at Intersections; Local Regulations” states the following:

“Left turns on other than two-way roadways: At any intersection where traffic is restricted to one direction on one or more of the roadways, and at any crossover from one roadway of a divided highway to another roadway thereof on which traffic moves in the opposite direction, the driver intending to turn left at any such intersection or crossover shall approach the intersection or crossover in the extreme left lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of such vehicle and after entering the intersection or crossover the left turn shall be made so as to leave the intersection or crossover, as nearly as practicable, in the left lane lawfully available to traffic moving in such direction upon the roadway being entered.”

Until someone writes a clearer code regarding the stop bar, it is recommended that a driver roll 2′ beyond the stop bar to indicate the intent to turn left.  Do not position the entire car in the middle of the intersection, because if you’re caught by a red light, then you would be completing the left turn on a red light and thereby exposing yourself to cross traffic. The Automobile Association of America recommends keeping the front wheels straight while waiting to turn left. If one is struck from behind, you will be knocked into on-coming traffic, if your wheels are turned to the left. By keeping the wheels straight, a car will be knocked straight and clear the intersection sooner.

Richard Wharam