What are they?
Imagine a crossroad, you know those tricky intersections of roads where nobody has
priority and extra caution should be taken. Sometimes you will find intersections
of roads where traffic is higher than usual and therefore some form of control needs
to be there, this control is provided with traffic lights to help maintain traffic
flow. On the approach to a traffic controlled crossroad, have a look at every sign
available and get into the correct lane, a rule of thumb is that traffic going left/ahead
should use the left lane and traffic turning right should use the right lane although
this is not always the case.
If you are turning right then you need to consider how you will share the road with
traffic on the opposite side who also wish to turn right. You will normally see
arrows on the road showing how to position like that shown in figure 1 below, if
there are no arrows you should normally assume traffic will pass nearside to nearside
(left side of your car opposite left side of the other car). Have a look at figure
1 which shows a typical traffic controlled crossroad where traffic will pass nearside
Figure 1. Traffic controlled crossroad where traffic turning right passes nearside
Traffic that is turning right might have to pass offside to offside which is basically
the opposite to nearside to nearside where cars turning right will overlap cars
opposite them, this confusing theory might be better understood by looking at figure
Figure 2: Cars passing each other offside to offside (overlapping)
Remember that unless the filter is showing on your traffic lights, you will be giving
way to oncoming traffic and therefore you must make sure it is clear. The view can
sometimes be blocked by opposite traffic which is trying to turn right and therefore
you should use the peep and creep technique (teasing the clutch at the biting point to move forward very slowly) to edge forward and make sure it is clear to progress,
this is better understood by viewing the video below:
Box junctions at traffic controlled crossroads
A box junction is a way of easing traffic flow and preventing traffic coming to
a standstill by preventing drivers from waiting in a certain area unless their exit
road is clear. You’ll know when you are near a box junction because the area of
the road will have yellow criss-cross lines painted on the road, if you are caught
being stationary in a box junction you could be liable to a fine (an increasing
number of box junctions now have cameras to spot offenders). The only time you can
wait in a box junction is if you intend to turn right with your exit road/lane being
clear, and you are only being blocked by oncoming traffic. If your exit road isn’t
clear, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb in the middle of the junction and when
its the other traffics turn to go you’ll become a hazard and left in a very sticky
situation indeed! Figure 3 below shows a traffic controlled crossroad with a box
Figure 3: Traffic controlled crossroad with box junction
What to do if the light turns red as you are waiting for oncoming traffic
You may come across a situation where you have passed the stop line when the light
was green and as you are waiting for oncoming traffic, the light has turned red.
In this situation you should continue due to the fact that you have passed the stop
line and reversing isn’t a safe option in a busy crossroad junction. Doing so isn’t
considered as going through a red light because you have already passed the point
of no return and remaining in the middle of the junction would cause an unnecessary
obstruction. Similarly to traffic controlled crossroads with a box junction, you
should make sure your exit road is clear before positioning yourself in the middle
of the intersection, if your exit road is blocked you wont have anywhere to go once
oncoming traffic is clear.
FINELINES guide to dealing with traffic controlled crossroads
Use this brief guide to help you through the next time you encounter a traffic controlled
crossroad junction. Remember that the best method of mastering those crossroads
is plenty of practise, if you are learning with Fineline Driving Academy you can
rest assured that our guys will take you through plenty of crossroads to make sure
you are confident with them.
• Plan well ahead so that you know if you are about to come across a traffic controlled
crossroad, this will help you position in the correct lane nice and early.
• If you are turning right and there is oncoming traffic ahead of you, use road
signs to see how to position, (nearside to nearside or offside to offside).
• If there are no signs on the floor telling you how to position you should use
the nearside to nearside positioning like that shown by the arrows in figure 1.
• If cars opposite you are blocking your view for oncoming traffic, use the peep
and creep method to edge out and see if it is clear, check out the video for a demonstration
of this. Only proceed if you are 100% it is clear.
• Look out for the traffic lights, it might have a filter which will show an arrow
for you to continue.
• If you have passed the stop line and the lights turn red, you should continue
if it is clear.