This post concerns conventional traffic light controlled junctions. I will cover filtered traffic light junction in the next post.

When turning right at most traffic light junctions, you need to position the car waiting to turn right. This can sometimes be difficult to judge, here are a few tips that will help you decide.

Right Turn Only

As you approach the above crossroad, it is fairly clear that the right lane is right turn only. On modern roads this is the most common arrangement, but beware of (generally) older ones where the right lane can also proceed ahead (see below). Also the current convention is to pass passenger side to passenger side, look out for arrows which indicate the opposite (again generally older designed junctions). I learned to drive in the early seventies and the convention was to pass driver’s side to driver’s side. This is safer since you can see better, but less efficient and to be honest I can’t really remember it changing.

So considering this image, when the light is green and you have on-coming traffic – where do you wait? Well the first decision is whether to cross the white STOP line. If I were driving the first vehicle then I’d move forward on green (unless something very unusual is happening). However if I were the second or subsequent vehicle, I would only cross the line if I was sure that I could get the back of my car beyond the pedestrian part of the crossing – see next image.


This is to make sure that I am caught is a bad spot when the lights change. As the lead vehicle progresses further into the junction, you may find that there is enough room to move forward. So where do we wait, even I am impatient 🙂

The exact position will vary from crossroad to crossroad but here’s my simple rule. I will not go too far forward in case I block someone turning right from opposite and I will not go too far right so I don’t make on-going traffic drive around me.


This picture demonstrates this fairly well. The blue car is blocking the lane that the white van is in, but it has to turn right – so fine. The blue car could go a couple of feet further right but not too far – remember you can always creep further forward (but NOT back). The white car is just crossing the pedestrian studs, so that looks fine. But the car that has Google’s camera should wait here for now

Right Hand Lane can go ahead as well as right


So remembering that some right hand lanes can go ahead, as well as right – the wait position would not be so far right (so you don’t block on-going traffic). But everything else would be the same as the above example.

Very often you can’t see the opposite road’s arrows (blocked by cars or elevation change). In my experience, if your right lane is right turn only then the one opposite is the same. But as ever with driving, proceed with caution and look for the evidence.

Next post I will have a look at filtered traffic light junctions and if anyone wants to take an intensive course in Leicester or Redditch just click one of the links.