Road Rants: Is it okay to ‘creep’ into an intersection and wait to turn?

Traffic

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – News Channel 8 viewer Phillip in North Port asked a question about what I’m calling “intersection creep.” He asked…

Does Florida law state that when you approach an intersection with a green light, you’re the first in line, you can move out into the intersection and wait to complete your left turn?

What if the light turns red while you’re in the intersection?

Phillip in North Port

Florida law says that drivers facing a green signal or arrow may proceed cautiously into the intersection and complete the turn, as long as you yield the right of way to other vehicles and pedestrians in the intersection or adjacent crosswalks. Regarding yellow lights, the law states that drivers should not enter the intersection if the signal is yellow. (Florida Statute 316.075)

However, the more important law here is Florida Statute 316.2061 – “No driver shall enter an intersection or a marked crosswalk unless there is sufficient space on the other side of the intersection or crosswalk to accommodate the vehicle the driver is operating without obstructing the passage of other vehicles or pedestrians, notwithstanding any traffic control signal indication to proceed. A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation.”

So, in layman terms, creeping into an intersection, even with a green light, and waiting to turn is a violation of the law and you could get a ticket for doing it.

A lot of viewers have taken issue with this story, so I took my interpretation to the Florida Highway Patrol, who agree it’s correct.

The FHP says, “drivers should not enter an intersection unless they can successfully clear the intersection; blocking the intersection is illegal. Once entering an intersection, drivers have the full duty to exit the intersection.”

FHP also pointed out that many drivers may confuse this statute with FL 316.123. Part b of the statute reads, “at a four-way stop intersection, the driver of the first vehicle to stop at the intersection shall be the first to proceed. If two or more vehicles reach the four-way stop intersection at the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.”

Additionally, FHP says that in a place like Tampa Bay, large intersections make it difficult to see oncoming traffic, especially with one or more left turn lanes in our line of sight.  A common practice is to enter (or creep) into an intersection, but due to our traffic patterns, it can be difficult to clear that same intersection successfully.

Send me your traffic questions and I’ll get an answer for you. You can reach me at mcensullo@wfla.com or on Facebook at WFLA Meredyth.

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