Turning left on green, what gives?

There is one particular intersection by my house that drives me nuts.

4 way intersection.
Left lane is a designated turn lane that has white guidelines that extend beyond the wait line and curve out into the intersection.
The traffic light has 4 lights: Red, green, yellow and green left turn arrow.

When there is a solid green, but oncoming traffic prohibits a left turn, people drive forward past the wait line and into the intersection staying in that curved box. When the oncoming traffic thins out and it’s safe to turn left, THEY SIT and WAIT for the green arrow! Why???

They will just sit there for 75 seconds waiting for that damn green arrow when it’s perfectly safe to turn left on the solid green. I’ve tapped my horn many times, but they won’t budge.

There is no signage that says left turn on green arrow only. None. What is the point in extending the turn lane into the intersection of you are just going to wait for the green arrow anyways?

Am I missing something? I’ve looked all over the DMV site and nothing says you can’t turn left on a solid green.

This is in a car by the way. Not a scooter.

It’s not the Chengde Road-Zhongzheng Road intersection, coming off the bridge is it? I can never figure it out there either. Taiwanese drivers are not normally known for such fearful reticence :slight_smile:

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Because they learn to drive in a little box somewhere outside the city with no real driving on the street experience. And they never learn better.

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2 Taiwanese friends told me the exact same thing…
They said that police have given people tickets for turning left on a solid green.

I asked how anyone is supposed to know there will be a green arrow if there are no signs. They said you just have to count the number of round lights and guess.

I call BS on that one.

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That’s how I drive, by counting the lights. But I don’t know if that’s some kind of rule. It’s bizarre, but in fairness, it’s easy to distinguish between 3 or 4 lights from a quick glance. And the 4 lights are found at bigger intersections. I wouldn’t honk since they’re actually doing the right thing. I’ll cheat on the rules at certain intersections, usually around where I live where I know there are never cops.

The veterans rule here is -

leave enough space between you and the car(s) in front so that you can drive around & past the offending vehicles once you see that there’s a safe gap to make the turn.

I was driving here for years and only last year a friend that was a passenger with me told me that you have to wait for the arrow… whaaa??
I also learned that you can’t turn left across a yellow line marking on the road, whereas in Canada it’s allowed.

Exactly what my Taiwanese friends said too. I just don’t get it. If that is indeed the rule, why extend the turn lane into the intersection? That makes zero sense.

I did some deeper digging late last night and took the mock driving test on the DMV site. Left turn is allowed on a solid green as long as you yield to oncoming traffic. Bam! There you go.

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Could you please provide the source of this? I’d like to show it other…

This is from the DMV online practice test. Question 266.

You can turn left on green arrow or when oncoming traffic has cleared.

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I’ve read through the test before, but I swear some drivers take the more absurd answers as suggestions.

I don’t read that as necessarily meaning you can turn left on a solid green as long as you yield to traffic. It could also very well mean that after the left turn arrow is displayed, make sure also that all vehicles proceeding straight have passed through the intersection before making the left turn. With the local driving environment, this interpretation could be very wise advice. So I remain unconvinced! I’ll continue with my left-turn-on-left-arrow-only-unless-I-know-it’s-a-cop-free-intersection for now.

TG, remember that night we were on our way to Whalen’s and I did exactly this onto AnHo from HePing and got pulled over? I did employ a somewhat unorthodox strategy to get out of that ticket, iirc. :wink:

I now wait for the arrow at that corner 100% of the time.

That said, turning into my little west shore community off the BiTan Bridge has an interminably long wait for the arrow, so I always jump the gun when clear to do so. Same again on the other side of the bridge getting onto Huan He Expressway.

1 light further down, mind you, when trying to access Highway 3, everyone waits. Never, ever seen anyone jump the gun there.

So I guess the rule is, go for it until you get pulled over.

Then why do they paint the guidelines and waiting line out into the intersection? It makes no sense.

There is an intersection I drive through every day where almost everyone waits for the green arrow. However, 2 blocks down there is another intersection with an identical set up. Everyone turns left on a solid green at that light without waiting for the green arrow. Its bonkers.

Also, when people sit at the first wait line and don’t pull forward into intersection at the second wait line when the light is a solid green drives me nuts.

Interestingly, it does say on the test that if someone honks their horn behind you, you must yield to them and allow them to pass. It is against the law to just sit and do nothing when honked at. I find that very interesting.

I don’t know (to most every question you asked, that is). I’m not going to defend the left and right turning habits and laws here. I just refuse since this is what bugs me maybe the most about the driving here. It just seems like that particular test question and answer don’t show anything one way or the other. Translation problem? Intentional vagueness? Crappy writing? Who knows?

And I hate the pulling forward at the light lines. Silly. Promotes bad driving. Maddening.

I think it’s to lengthen the left turn lane and increase the number of vehicles that can wait for the left turn (especially since Taiwan doesn’t tend to have dedicated left turn lanes like in the US for example), and also reducing the amount of time it takes for vehicles to cross the intersection when the left turn arrow turns green.

It does certainly lend to confusion though. I personally wait for the left green arrow as it seems pretty clear that is the law.

What irks me more are the cars that pull in from the right lane in front of you, or the cars behind that try to turn before the front cars turn.

How is it clear? There are no signs. It does not specify clearly in the DMV test. Taiwanese don’t really know themselves. I have gotten mixed answers from cops that I have asked too. I have also seen police cars turn left on a solid green. So how exactly is it clear?

It’s to protect the pedestrians. Most left turning drivers only look for oncoming vehicles when they attempt to turn during a solid green, and sometimes when there is a small gap in the oncoming traffic, they just gun it and end up plowing into an unfortunate pedestrian, whose light is also green at that time. (I saw this on the news.) Next time when you’re at the intersection, check out the pedestrian light. You’ll see that it turns red just before the left green arrow comes on, so humans and cars are kept apart.


The law allows to turn left or right as well as to go straight on a solid green when there is no other sign prohibiting it. Police seems to give tickets for the left turn often, though. There are some discussion on this problem by Taiwanese, and many say the law allows, but police not.

FYI, in Chinese though.
第 206 條 行車管制號誌各燈號顯示之意義如左:
(一) 在無其他標誌、標線禁制或指示下,圓形綠燈表示准許車輛直行或 左、右轉。

If you have a green light saying you can go, and no indication that you can’t go, how can it be illegal to make a left turn?

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