Why aren't left turn signals "yields" rather than "stops"?
January 5, 2014 11:59 AM Subscribe
I have seen many controlled intersections that have one (or more) left turn lanes with one (or more) straight-through lanes with separate signals for the left turn lane(s) versus the straight lane(s). In general, those intersections are designed to have straight-through traffic going from two opposing directions and then alternate with left-turning traffic going from two opposing directions. When the straight-through traffic is passing, why do the left-turning lanes get a red circular light rather than a green circular light or a yellow circular light?
My questions relate to scenarios where the intersection is passing straight-through traffic but there is no straight-through traffic on the road. In that case, those in left-turning lanes have to wait until the intersection changes. During a left turn, drivers facing a green or yellow circular light must yield to oncoming traffic anyway, so it seems more efficient to give the drivers in the left-turning lanes at least the chance to proceed through the intersection when there's no oncoming traffic rather than force them to stop.