Following Left Turns
November 17, 2007
Have you noticed the increasing problem with drivers who complete their left turns at traffic lights after the light turns yellow and red?
This is a major problem not only in Woodstock, but all over northern Illinois and, I suspect, the country. Drivers are impatient and fill up the intersection on the green light. Then they complete their left turns after oncoming traffic clears. Often this is after the light is red.
If the light is changing from green to red, they must make sure that oncoming traffic is stopping and actually has stopped, before they can complete their turns. Too many times the oncoming driver guns it and goes through the yellow and red light, even though there was plenty of time to stop.
Sometimes they try to sneak between oncoming cars, as one man did this afternoon on Route 47 at Lake Avenue (by 3 Brothers Restaurant). He was turning left from southbound Route 47 and thought he could get through. When he gunned his minivan, the rear tires spun on the wet pavement, instead of gaining traction. Fortunately, he made it. The northbound car didn’t slow down and its driver just blasted his horn.
When vehicles are still in the intersection when their light turns red, they delay cross-traffic that is ready to proceed on its own left-turn arrow.
Some states program their traffic lights to show the left-turn signal after the green. Left-turning traffic faces a red, while through traffic has a green. After the green changes through yellow to red, then the left-turning traffic gets its left-turn arrow. At the end of the left-turn cycle, cross-traffic moves.
If this makes sense to you, contact your State legislator and suggest that IDOT begin testing the feasibility of the change in traffic light sequence. I’ve learned that one call from a citizen to IDOT isn’t enough. Perhaps if I had Rep. or Sen. in front of my name, they might hear me.
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