Did I handle this situation correctly?

Did I handle this situation correctly?

Author
Discussion

SpeedyTheTortoise

Original Poster:

20 posts

2 months

Wednesday 21st October
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Hello,

Fairly new here, and signed up mostly to improve my advanced driving. Sometimes I have questions, such as a situation I found myself in a few days ago.

Driving in an unfamiliar area, I approached a roundabout (traffic-light controlled) which I needed the second exit from.

There were three lanes approaching the roundabout, and I stayed in the left-hand lane as it had a straight on and left arrow combined, painted on the lane.

Took my place in the queue but as I got closer to the roundabout, I was confused by the green light on the traffic lights, because it was actually a left-pointing arrow, rather than a normal 'round' light. Which I had not come across before.

Upshot was, I suddenly doubted whether I could in fact go straight on in that lane, and not wanting to get into conflict with anyone else, I took the decision to turn left instead, figuring it was safer to turn around somewhere and come back rather than take the chance.

Basically I thought the arrow was telling me, in the lane I was in, that I must turn left.


So, your thoughts please. (Be gentle smile) In particular:
1) Was I wrong to view the green left-arrow as meaning 'turn left' in this context?
2) Was I correct to make the decision to turn left and find another route, rather than risk conflict because I was unsure?

Dixy

1,939 posts

165 months

Wednesday 21st October
quotequote all
Ok I will stick my head above the parapet.
I think you made an excellent call, it is far better to go somewhere you did not intend rather than have an accident or conflict. What this tells you is most road planners should be shot at dawn and are the cause of many of the problems.
You can only proceed in the direction of the arrow, when the other lights went green you could have gone straight on but people behind may have sounded their horns and people to your right may have tried crossing in to your lane.

Pica-Pica

7,680 posts

44 months

Wednesday 21st October
quotequote all
I am prepared to be corrected, but I thought that for a green light with an arrow to signify a go direction, there had to be a red arrow to stop all other routes.

As said, avoid a ‘coming together’ is the best option.

As a further question, what if you were in the centre lane, what signals would you be facing there?

Edited by Pica-Pica on Wednesday 21st October 22:26

bigandclever

10,684 posts

198 months

Wednesday 21st October
quotequote all
Have you revisited in googlemaps? Can we?

Pica-Pica

7,680 posts

44 months

Wednesday 21st October
quotequote all
See here for lights controlling traffic.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/560...

maz8062

960 posts

175 months

Wednesday 21st October
quotequote all
Pica-Pica said:
I am prepared to be corrected, but I thought that for a green light with an arrow to signify a go direction, there had to be a red arrow to stop all other routes.

As said, avoid a ‘coming together’ is the best option.

As a further question, what if you were in the centre lane, what signals would you be facing there?

Edited by Pica-Pica on Wednesday 21st October 22:26
Spot on. The op was in the wrong lane approaching the roundabout (should have been the middle lane if planning on taking the 2nd exit) But they mad the right call taking the first exit and doubling back.

SpeedyTheTortoise

Original Poster:

20 posts

2 months

Wednesday 21st October
quotequote all
Thanks for all replies, much appreciated spin

Good to know I was correct to avoid any conflict. I try to drive 'defensively'.

As for the wrong lane... I -thought- I was in the correct lane due to the white painted arrows on the lane (which I've managed to get a screenshot of from the streetview): But happy to be proved wrong, I am here to learn after all.



I've studied the link with the pictures of the traffic light signals... hmmm... it was none of them, exactly. The arrow was similar ('cept in t'other direction) to the one top left of the diagram, but it was in place of the green 'round' light, not to the side.


Finally... a streetview link (apologies, didn't even think of looking at that until someone mentioned!). Hopefully this works (seems a long link):
https://www.google.com/maps/@55.4752327,-4.5862836...

I was in the lane where the streetview car is, wanting to head past the first exit and off at the second. But in the end I turned left here instead.

If I 'step back' a bit, I can see the green 'turn-left' arrow is also on the other traffic light, at the right-hand lane. So if I was in the middle lane, to answer that question, I would see, according to streetview, a turn-left green arrow also??

(Handy that they're showing green in the streetview pictures, isn't it smile). But I couldn't say for certain what shape the red light was (I think it was green as I approached so I never saw red/amber).



Edited by SpeedyTheTortoise on Wednesday 21st October 23:17

MitchT

13,245 posts

169 months

Wednesday 21st October
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I was in a similar situation a couple of weeks ago. I approached a set of lights where you could turn left or go straight on. There was only one lane. I stopped because the lights were red but then a green "left" arrow illuminated. I wanted to go straight on but the straight on light was still red and traffic was emerging from the left so clearly I couldn't drive across the junction without coming into conflict with this. Conscious of the fact that there might be people behind me wanting to turn left, I set off and turned left and then found somewhere down the road to turn round and return to the junction, so I could turn left again and end up going where I'd originally intended. Most bizarre!

SpeedyTheTortoise

Original Poster:

20 posts

2 months

Wednesday 21st October
quotequote all
MitchT said:
I was in a similar situation a couple of weeks ago. I approached a set of lights where you could turn left or go straight on. There was only one lane. I stopped because the lights were red but then a green "left" arrow illuminated. I wanted to go straight on but the straight on light was still red and traffic was emerging from the left so clearly I couldn't drive across the junction without coming into conflict with this. Conscious of the fact that there might be people behind me wanting to turn left, I set off and turned left and then found somewhere down the road to turn round and return to the junction, so I could turn left again and end up going where I'd originally intended. Most bizarre!
I feel your pain smile I hate situations like that, I have to admit. I would say absolutely you were right to not go straight on.

Good call turning left, it took you out of the 'cars are about to start beeping their horns behind you' situation. yes

InitialDave

7,083 posts

79 months

Wednesday 21st October
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I think they have tried to use the left turn green lights and signs to prevent people turning right and going against the traffic coming around the roundabout.

I would think all those lights should be "normal" greens.

bigandclever

10,684 posts

198 months

Wednesday 21st October
quotequote all
Fiddling about a bit, it just looks like both traffic lights and their signs are saying ‘bear left here, don’t be a dick and try and do a right turn’, and given the arrow on the road surface in lane 1 is ‘turn left or go straight’ you would’ve been fine carrying on across the junction.


DaveH23

2,749 posts

130 months

Thursday 22nd October
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The arrowed lights must be to signal you're at a roundabout and not a junction.

I always do something similar to you and head of in the wrong direction if I find myself in the wrong lane then double back on myself.

Wish more would do this than force their way across multiple lanes or worse, stop completely until the lane they want is free.

Pica-Pica

7,680 posts

44 months

Thursday 22nd October
quotequote all
That seems a badly signed and set-up roundabout. See local reports
https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/ayrs...

https://www.sabre-roads.org.uk/wiki/index.php?titl...

Other comments are available see ‘Whitletts’ roundabout’ near Ayr (assuming that is the one OP is referring too). I personally think those light are wrongly specced. They seem to be trying (badly) to resolve a roundabout layout issue.

Back to OPs point, I would say going across is OK, but I would take the centre lane. Even if you are in the RH lane, and taking the last exit, you are still facing a left green arrow!

MarkwG

2,608 posts

149 months

Thursday 22nd October
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The obvious answer is surely a speed camera or two - will nobody think of the children!!!!

Green1man

443 posts

48 months

Thursday 22nd October
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Clearly these lights are just the normal roundabout stop/go lights, there is not a separate signalled left filter lane here. Having said that the left green arrows are only going to confuse the situation. But the road markings also include place names so it doesn’t look like a mistake.

66mpg

514 posts

67 months

Thursday 22nd October
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A look at the satellite view, rather than Streetview reveals that there are dotted lines on the roundabout to guide traffic in lane one going straight ahead (second exit), and to guide traffic in lane two into lane two past the first exit. Traffic in lane three is guided by dots into lane four on the roundabout (the lines of dots flare out from each other).

This means that the OP could have gone to the second exit from lane one, as the arrow on the road suggests but the traffic signal is confusing the matter.

SpeedyTheTortoise

Original Poster:

20 posts

2 months

Thursday 22nd October
quotequote all
This is turning out to be very interesting isn't it smile


I wasn't aware of the dangerous status of the roundabout (I believe from looking at the map that it is indeed the Whitletts (or 'Witless' as it was referred to in one of those articles biggrin) roundabout), having not encountered it before - but suffice to say if I'd known I wouldn't have been as calm as I was on the day!

I confess to not having seen the dotted line markings on the day, possibly because I was concentrating on the traffic and lights. If I'd seen them I may well have felt more confident about proceeding forward, but really I'm glad I didn't now.


So it seems the green 'turn left' arrows are confusing, so it wasn't just me. That's good to know. Has anyone come across those arrows on roundabouts before? It's a new one on me I must say.


I feel better knowing that, although I didn't fully understand the situation placed before me, I did make what seems to be, from consensus on here, the correct decision smile Thanks all for that!

DocSteve

665 posts

182 months

Sunday 25th October
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I can only presume that for some reason people have turned right onto the roundabout against the traffic flow and the highway engineers, rightly or wrongly, have done this to stop that. Given there is no separation between the red stop light and the green arrow, plus the blue arrow marker and an absence of a red light in that other picture, you would have been fine to continue straight on. I assume that other traffic in lanes 2 and 3 were moving as well rather than just lane 1.

However, it is a monumentally stupid and confusing way to structure a junction setup in my view and likely to lead to the not unreasonable conclusion you came to.

You have come to the right place for advice and what you did was absolutely spot on. If there is an element of uncertainty which could result in an unsafe situation then you made the safest manoeuvre and probably lost only a few minutes of time. If in doubt, take the safest approach - which is exactly what you did. If I did not know the junction it would probably have confused me and, rather than pontificate over it at the time, I might have done the same thing and turned left then thought about it afterwards. There is also a risk at that junction that drivers in lane two might believe (despite road markings, which many do not look at or arrive at the junction too quickly or close to other vehicles to observe) they can turn left which would have resulted in a potential conflict if you had carried straight on.

SpeedyTheTortoise

Original Poster:

20 posts

2 months

Sunday 25th October
quotequote all
DocSteve said:
I can only presume that for some reason people have turned right onto the roundabout against the traffic flow and the highway engineers, rightly or wrongly, have done this to stop that. Given there is no separation between the red stop light and the green arrow, plus the blue arrow marker and an absence of a red light in that other picture, you would have been fine to continue straight on. I assume that other traffic in lanes 2 and 3 were moving as well rather than just lane 1.

However, it is a monumentally stupid and confusing way to structure a junction setup in my view and likely to lead to the not unreasonable conclusion you came to.

You have come to the right place for advice and what you did was absolutely spot on. If there is an element of uncertainty which could result in an unsafe situation then you made the safest manoeuvre and probably lost only a few minutes of time. If in doubt, take the safest approach - which is exactly what you did. If I did not know the junction it would probably have confused me and, rather than pontificate over it at the time, I might have done the same thing and turned left then thought about it afterwards. There is also a risk at that junction that drivers in lane two might believe (despite road markings, which many do not look at or arrive at the junction too quickly or close to other vehicles to observe) they can turn left which would have resulted in a potential conflict if you had carried straight on.
Thank you smile

And yes your assumption is correct - traffic in lanes 2 and 3 moved at the same time as lane 1.

TarquinMX5

384 posts

40 months

Wednesday 28th October
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I haven't gone into all the detail of the various google views etc. but the OP took the correct action once he realised that he wasn't sure of the situation. It's a pity more drivers don't think of the potential consequences of their actions on other road users.

I don't know why but I've seen several examples of either conflicting or confusing road markings / signage on the approach to some roundabouts recently, one that was clearly marked (surface arrow) as straight on but at the very last minute the lane became left-turn only. The conclusion I've reached recently is that some highway engineers don't actually drive.