Many years ago, when I was a new driving instructor in York I had a realisation. I noticed some of my clients were failing tests for doing the same things wrong, in the same places. I decided I should make sure my clients understood these tricky “features” before going for their test. Hence my “Features List” was born.
Rather than teaching the features themselves though, I endeavour to teach a methodology for dealing with them. This methodology can then be transferred to other, similar situations. Here’s the next feature in my list;
Location – Crossroads Huntington Road/The Old Village/North Moor Road/New Lane
Heading from The Old Village to New Lane
- Late observation
- Not using right turn lane correctly
- Going too far forward in right turn lane
How To Do It Right
Lets look at a methodology we should use dealing with any junction;
- Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre. I’m not going to spend time on this as hopefully, the MSM routine is being used already. If not – that’s a whole new box we’re opening. Another time, perhaps.
- Early observation. Sometimes we get a view well before we arrive at the junction, sometimes both sides, sometimes just one side. We should make good use of this.
- When there’s a specific right turn lane, we should centre the car in it sideways so our position is even between following and oncoming traffic.
- Hold position when giving way to oncoming traffic. If we need to stop for oncoming traffic waiting to turn right, then we should wait BEFORE we get to the point of turn. This means we can move forwards a little before turning when the traffic clears, enabling an easier, faster turn, which in turn means we can make use of shorter gaps.
It’s a left turn followed by a right turn!
Although it appears as a staggered crossroads, in fact this junction is an emerging left turn (minor to major) followed by a right turn (major to minor) and needs to be treated as such.
As a driving instructor in York, I encourage early observation and lots of it. Approaching the junction from The Old Village, the curve of Huntington Road affords an early view of traffic coming from the right. This is useful because essentially, the first part is just an emerging left turn where we primarily give way to traffic from the right. We only give way to the left if the way is compromised by parked vehicles. I have never experienced this here. If we look early on approach, we can see way up Huntington Road and if it’s clear, we should only need a glance to the left before proceeding to emerge. We do not, at this point need to give way to either vehicles coming from our left (as long as they remain on the other side of the road or in their right turn lane), or vehicles coming from New Lane.
As we emerge and turn left, we should be looking to head into the middle. right turn lane in preparation to turn right into New Lane.
If there are other vehicles waiting to turn right we can take up position behind them, being sure not to block the opposing right turn lane, and wait accordingly. If this means we wait on the left immediately after emerging, then so be it. We are now on the major road and waiting to turn right. If this means we may then be in the way of traffic coming from Huntington Road then so be it. As long as it was clear to the right when we emerged, we’re good. We need to think of this as two turns; minor to major, followed by major to minor.
There are actually two right turn lanes. One for is for us and an opposite one for oncoming traffic from North Moor Road or New Lane. If the opposing one is not needed by oncoming traffic then we can drive through it to get to our right turn lane. If there is no oncoming traffic at all, then we can continue and turn right without stopping in the right turn lane, – at no point should we need to give way to traffic from New Lane. Once we have emerged from The Old Village, we are on the major road and traffic from New Lane – the minor road – should be giving way to us.
If we need to give way to oncoming traffic from North Moor Road, then we should take position centrally in the right turn lane. We should holding back and stop about one to two metres before our point of turn. The central position means there is equal space for vehicles from ahead and behind to pass safely. Holding before the point of turn means firstly we can;
- move and control our speed before we start turning, reducing the possibility of dry steering.
- start to move forward as the last oncoming vehicle passes. This gives us a little momentum to clear the space more quickly, which in turn means we can use shorter gaps safely.
Vehicle Body Language
We should be careful however not to hold too far before our turn point. If we do then this “vehicle body language” may suggest to vehicles waiting to emerge right from New Lane that we are giving way to them. We, on the major road. We have priority and should be asserting this priority as long as it is safe to do so.
Y’all drive safely now,
from Andrew (Deej) De-Giorgio – Driving Instructor in York