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Police Forum Police Head Mod: Skidmark
Questions & info about the Motor Vehicle Act. Mature discussion only.

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Old 01-20-2011, 12:04 AM   #1
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Forcing a left turn signal question.

I've searched the forum on left turns but found nothing specific to this situation, please link me if I am wrong.

Driving home at night I use a non busy dedicated left-turn lane. There aren't usually any cars trying to turn left (except me) but there is definatley always traffic going up and down. Is it legal to stop the approximate 2 car lengths behind the white line on top of the road circles (i don't know the name for them) to force the left turn signal to turn on opposed to letting it the light go straight green and waiting for the pedestrians/traffic?

I can see how this could be frowned upon as it is selfish, but I can't see how it's illegal as I'm behind the white line. Can someone please shed some light on this?
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:28 AM   #2
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It only works when there's 2 cars. In spots 1 and 3. Not sure if ALL of them are like that though. For that, you can say you didn't want to be to close to the guy in front.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:34 AM   #3
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Untrue. It also works when there is only one car in spot 3 (trust me, it's been taken advantage of many times). In which case I can't use that line.... but I shouldn't need any if doing this is legal anyways??

Btw for this intersection I don't remember the circles being in spot 1, only 3 which is probably why in this case it works for just 1 car in the lane.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:43 AM   #4
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Ive once seen a person do this and a cop was on the opposing side.... nothing happened.
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Old 01-20-2011, 07:12 AM   #5
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That, my friend, is called smart driving.

There are different types of sensors. There are intersections that only have 1 sensor at the 3rd car position and none at the 1st car position and intersections that require both sensors to be activated before the advance signal would show.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:22 AM   #6
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Those are actually called "loops" (not all of them are round) and they consist of a coil of wire, usually of four or five windings. The system runs an alternating current through them to create a magnetic field; the metal in your car changes the properties of that field, which the system detects to recognize the presence of your car... just like the little metal detector you take to the beach to look for bottle caps.

Some intersections, particularly newer constructions, use cameras to detect the presence of cars instead. Those are usually those small cylindrical ones you see mounted way up high above the traffic lights. The cameras feed software that detects a change in the scene they're looking at to determine whether there are vehicles.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:49 AM   #7
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Some intersections, particularly newer constructions, use cameras to detect the presence of cars instead. Those are usually those small cylindrical ones you see mounted way up high above the traffic lights. The cameras feed software that detects a change in the scene they're looking at to determine whether there are vehicles.
I really hate those camera ones cause you get the odd person who's too stupid to go up to the line to trip the camera and we wait for a few lights before he realizes it. I remember going from Marine turning left onto Nelson and the first guy was too far back so the light didn't turn. After missing the second time people were honking, and he just kept waving his hand at them with the gesture that it's a red light, what do you want me to do? By the time he figured it out, the line up to turn left was halfway to Glenlyon.
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:28 AM   #8
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I use this trick all the time at work as I am a driver. Time is money. The quicker I get to the destination, the more money I can potentially make.

In Surrey, most of these looped turn signals only have one loop located at the #3 car position. Plus, working in Whalley, I see police cars every hour and have yet to be pulled over for using this trick.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:50 PM   #9
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I do this all the time.. Usually you have to be there 5 secs before the other light changes to yellow or you dont make it.. I remember one time I was the only one in the turn lane so i was 3 cars back on the pad and the guy beside me was looking at me like WTF u have 2 car lengths ahead.. I end up looking over and hes telling me to move up.. I give him the puzzled look and wait for the light to turn green.. It ended up being signal for both directions so I moved forward guy was still looking at me so he ends up moving forward and bumping in to the guy infront of him... LOL, teaches him to mind his own business...
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Old 01-20-2011, 03:05 PM   #10
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I'v been doing this for years and havn't been pulled over for it yet. I don't see how it could be illegal.
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Old 01-20-2011, 04:08 PM   #11
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As a YD driving instructor we teach car drivers to stop about 4 lengths back from a light initially and then move up to 1 length back as vehicles arrive behind you. There is nothing illegal or wrong in stopping back a bit from the line. It gives you a safe space to move into if cars coming up behind you don't stop in time and protects you from ones cutting the corner coming towards you. Just make sure you get forward enough so that you can actually hit the loops and activate the lights.
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Old 01-20-2011, 04:12 PM   #12
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I do this all the time.

As mentioned, if there are those loops in position 1 and 3, then you need a car in both positions for at about 5 seconds to trip the sensor.
Some intersections *cough* lougheed hwy and boundary*cough* only have one sensor at position 3 so you can do it with just one car.

I turn onto boundary from lougheed hwy often and this trick is just wonderful allowing me to skip heavily backed up oncoming traffic.
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Old 01-20-2011, 04:37 PM   #13
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I do this all the time when the roads aren't busy - mainly when I'm dropping off my mom at work at like 5AM. A cop was behind me and I didn't even realize till the light changed and nothing happened.
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:08 PM   #14
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its not illegal, just like falsely activating a crosswalk signal isn't illegal either.
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Old 01-21-2011, 02:02 PM   #15
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seems like the general consensus is that forcing turn signals is a o. k., now i can do it like a boss . thanks people!
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Old 01-21-2011, 02:08 PM   #16
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Old 01-21-2011, 02:36 PM   #17
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As a YD driving instructor we teach car drivers to stop about 4 lengths back from a light initially and then move up to 1 length back as vehicles arrive behind you. There is nothing illegal or wrong in stopping back a bit from the line. It gives you a safe space to move into if cars coming up behind you don't stop in time and protects you from ones cutting the corner coming towards you. Just make sure you get forward enough so that you can actually hit the loops and activate the lights.
You were a YD driving instructor? Was this before you became a peace officer?
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Old 01-21-2011, 10:38 PM   #18
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I am now a YD driving instructor since I retired in 2009 and I have been a motorcycle instructor since 1994 while still in the RCMP.
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:14 PM   #19
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What always makes me happy is when I'm car #1 and the car behind me is smart enough to stop at the #3 spot and activate the left turn signal ...
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:57 PM   #20
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I stop on the "loops" every now and then. Something I learned from my YD instructor, coincidentally enough haha

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It ended up being signal for both directions so I moved forward guy was still looking at me so he ends up moving forward and bumping in to the guy infront of him... LOL, teaches him to mind his own business...
Too funny
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:14 AM   #21
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its not illegal, just like falsely activating a crosswalk signal isn't illegal either.
yeah this^
i was at a light a long time ago in the passenger seat with my friend, and this was at about 4am. we were waiting at a light for literally ~10 minutes, turning right would take us onto the highway so we had no detour option. there was a cop next to us in the left turn lane, and after much debate about whether or not we'd get a ticket or a warning or something, we decided to do it, so i hopped out and hit the button. on my way back to the car the cop gave me a wave (i think it was a thank you wave)

good on you for asking though, better safe then sorry
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:22 AM   #22
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I'm a little surprised the officer actually waited at the red at that time of night.

I use the loops whenever I can. Anything to help ease traffic backup.
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:19 AM   #23
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IF he had not waited and had no legal excuse then he would be subject to a VT as well...specially since you were watching him.
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:32 AM   #24
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Do this all the time. done it a couple of times when the cop was right behind me.
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Old 01-22-2011, 02:38 PM   #25
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i do this all the time, heck some times the cop stops at #3 when im at #1
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