Completing a left turn on red
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    Completing a left turn on red

    I've always been under the impression that when turning left on a green light you should pull into the intersection, wait for traffic to clear and complete your turn after oncoming traffic has stopped, even after a red light. It seems most people in Iowa do this.

    But I just downloaded the Iowa DOT driver manual and can't find anything about this. During a recent trip to visit friends in Missouri I did this and our friends almost had heart attacks. They said it's illegal in Missouri.

    What is the official law in Iowa? Is it different elsewhere?



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    Re: Completing a left turn on red

    That's what I was taught in drivers ed many years ago. I think your problem is listening to people who live in Missouri.



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    Re: Completing a left turn on red

    Quote Originally Posted by ruxCYtable View Post
    I've always been under the impression that when turning left on a green light you should pull into the intersection, wait for traffic to clear and complete your turn after oncoming traffic has stopped, even after a red light. It seems most people in Iowa do this.

    But I just downloaded the Iowa DOT driver manual and can't find anything about this. During a recent trip to visit friends in Missouri I did this and our friends almost had heart attacks. They said it's illegal in Missouri.

    What is the official law in Iowa? Is it different elsewhere?

    I don't know what is or isn't legal, but it is common courtesy to your fellow drivers to pull into the intersection to wait until traffic clears. Otherwise you are slowing up traffic and giving me road rage in the process.



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    Re: Completing a left turn on red

    I do the same as you, and it drive me crazy when somebody in front of me just sits at the intersection and doesn't go through on the yellow/red when the oncoming traffic gets through.



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    Re: Completing a left turn on red

    What part of that is illegal? Completing the turn on red? Or just pulling out into the interesection?

    What you just described is what I do most all the time. Although I imagine technically it's running a red light.



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    Re: Completing a left turn on red

    Probably illegal, but agree that most people do it.



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    Re: Completing a left turn on red

    nobody does it in Colorado, drives me crazy. i still do it since thats how i learned growing up in iowa. my girlfriend is from WY and they do it as well. Not sure if it is illegal or not but i havent been pulled over for it yet. ::knocks on wood::



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    Re: Completing a left turn on red

    Quote Originally Posted by mfelske View Post
    That's what I was taught in drivers ed many years ago. I think your problem is listening to people who live in Missouri.
    That's what I was taught in driver's ed as well.

    I don't think there is anything illegal about it.

    Plus green doesn't mean technically mean "Go", it means "Proceed when the intersection is clear" or something like that.

    Edit: Just looked it up in the manual

    Green: Go, but only when the intersection is clear. You must yield to vehicles and pedestrians in the intersection. When the light changes there may be traffic caught in the intersection. You must give them the right-of-way to clear the intersection.

    Plus red only means you can't enter the intersection anymore, if you're already there you are fine. Nothing illegal at all.


    Last edited by FDWxMan; 07-14-2010 at 11:57 AM.

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    Re: Completing a left turn on red

    Most do it after they have waited for traffic to clear... technically probably not supposed to ever go through the red, but usually you get stuck in no-man's land and have to complete the turn.



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    Re: Completing a left turn on red

    Wait a minute. Are you saying I shouldn't just pull out in front of oncoming traffic to make my turn? Because this is exactly what 90% of the care with Illinois plates do in Iowa City.



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    Re: Completing a left turn on red

    That's how I learned growing up in Indiana. It makes the most sense to me. The only times where it gets tricky are when there is an intersection with more than one turn lane.


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    Re: Completing a left turn on red

    I'd say it is fine as long as it is only 1 car. If you pull into the intersection and there is already another car waiting to turn on green, then that is where it starts to irritate people.

    In drivers ed, I would told a driver has a right to clear the intersection, even if a light turns red. I've always used this method to turn on green.


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    Re: Completing a left turn on red

    Missouri has no mandatory driver's ed I believe and therefore you should not allow them to speak while they are in your car.



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    Re: Completing a left turn on red

    [QUOTE=DaddyMac;1811034]What part of that is illegal? Completing the turn on red? Or just pulling out into the interesection?

    What you just described is what I do most all the time. Although I imagine technically it's running a red light.[/QUOTE]

    I suppose they could say that, but the alternative is to sit there in the middle of the intersection and block traffic. You should have the right to go into the intersection when the light is green. If you're stuck there after the light turns red, it shouldn't be illegal to get out of the way of oncoming traffic regardless of what color the light is.


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    Re: Completing a left turn on red

    Interesting that you would bring this up as I have noticed this myself. Growing up in Iowa, I learned it the same as you. However, now living in Kansas, it seems that most drivers around here don't do it. I have never been ticketed for it or anything either, but now that I am surrounded by drivers that don't do it, it does make me wonder if it is legal or not.



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