When turning into a side road, you may be crossing approaching traffic. When vehicles are coming directly towards you, the gap can close very quickly; you need to be certain that you’ve enough time to make the turn safely.
Where ‘crossing’ can be particularly hazardous however, is when traffic is stationary. Look at the situation in the image.
Driver A is about to turn right. There’s a stationary queue of traffic across the junction and someone has correctly left a gap. This should be an easy turn but what about the oncoming cyclist hidden behind car B?
That cyclist could be travelling quickly – it could also be a motorcyclist. When crossing the path of other traffic motorcyclists are often the most at risk of serious injury. You can find advice about cycling safety here.
A competent rider should aware if the danger here, but unfortunately many drivers are not. It’s vitally important when you’re crossing traffic in a situation like this that you turn with caution. Look through the windows of the other cars if you can, but above all make sure that your speed is low enough so that you can stop if necessary.
You must give way to any oncoming traffic before turning. Don’t forget to look out for pedestrians who are crossing the road you’re turning into. They also have priority over you if they’re already stepping into the road.
Keep it Clear
In the image, the queuing drivers had left a gap at the junction so that others could still turn while they were waiting. This is something you should always be careful to do. If you block a junction, and an oncoming driver can’t turn right into it from the main road, the chances are that following traffic may also be brought to a standstill. You’ll not be very popular if you’re the one doing the blocking!
There are other areas which you should also leave clear when you’re in a traffic queue which will be covered further on; but always be aware of your position in relation to your surroundings and never stop in a place where you may obstruct someone.