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Behind the Wheel - If You Can't See, You Can't Go!

A reader writes to me describing an intersection where collisions occur regularly, some resulting in fatalities. He has observed that the opposing left turn lanes in one direction don't line up directly across from each other but are offset by a few feet. The result is that through traffic in one direction is more obscured by standing vehicles than it is in the other. To complicate matters, one direction has a protected left turn signal and the other direction does not.

The reader is sure that this highway design has contributed to collisions at the intersection and he wants to do something about it. He has written to the Ministry of Transportation suggesting that the lanes be repainted so that they line up directly across from each other. The Ministry has declined to do this stating that they would rather wait for the funding to install a protected turn arrow for the other direction.

Ideally, both should be done in the reader's view and he was seeking advice on who to contact to try and effect the changes. He suggested ICBC and I would add the local MLA and city council to the list of people to try and influence. It would not be out of the question to have a service club fund an engineering report to support the request. I expect that could be accomplished without too much expense.

Regardless of the state of this intersection, one of the major problems here is left turn drivers who insist on turning even though they cannot see well enough to insure that their turn is safe. Simply put, if you can't see, you can't turn.

Enter the intersection and wait, wheels pointing straight ahead. If traffic volume doesn't allow full view, wait for the light to turn red and after all traffic has stopped complete your left turn. You have right of way over all other traffic to clear the intersection if you do this. Also, ignore drivers behind you that would like to force the issue. They can wait for the next cycle of the light and follow your example.