Traffic signal showing a left turn arrow

Protected Only Mode Left Turns

This is a typical arrangement of signals at an intersection when there is a separate left-turn signal face provided for only left turns.

The signal for protected turns will have a steady left-turn red arrow, a steady left-turn yellow-arrow and a steady left turn green arrow.

Signals facing drivers proceeding straight ahead are separate and display circular lights.

What You Must Do

Vehicles facing the signal with a green arrow may proceed into the intersection and may turn only in the direction indicated by the green arrow.

Traffic going straight ahead or turning right will usually see a red light, since vehicles from the opposite direction may also be turning left. Make sure you do not turn wide.

While turning you are protected from oncoming traffic, which will face a red light. You must, however, yield the right-of-way to vehicles and pedestrians already in the intersection. Never enter the intersection if it is blocked. The green arrow does not give you the right-of-way.

When the arrow changes to a steady yellow arrow, you should make a safe stop and wait for the next signal.

Steady left-turn red arrows usually mean that all turns are prohibited.

Other Arrangements

Shared signal faces for both protected and permissive left turns are also common. At such an intersection you should expect green arrow and circular green being terminated at the same time. Instead of a red arrow, you may face a steady circular red light. The yellow arrow may also be replaced by a circular yellow light.

It is important to be aware of the arrangement at any intersection. A protected turn only means that opposing traffic will face a red light and that pedestrians crossing the lane or lanes used by the protected left-turn movement will face a Don’t Walk signal.

A protected turn does not mean that all other traffic is stopped by a red light.