Traffic Filter Lights
A green (arrow) traffic filter light allows traffic to proceed in the direction of the arrow. A directional green filter arrow means that you have priority over traffic as their lights will be on red when you make the turn. As with all junctions be aware of pedestrians and cyclists whilst making the turn. Just because you have priority, there is a possibility of another vehicle, cyclist or pedestrian crossing or being where they shouldn’t be. If you face this situation then you are expected to react in time.
It is also relatively common for a learner driver to focus primarily on the red light and not notice the green filter light is illuminated allowing you to proceed. During a driving test, if you have not acknowledged the green filter light for a period of time or the examiner even makes you aware of the illuminated filter, it could go against you in the driving test. A filter light may illuminate before or after the full green phase. Ensure you keep an eye on the filter light as well as the main lights.
Filter lights help with the flow of traffic and are not always in use, so not expect the same sequence when you next approach the same set of lights. It depends on the time of the day and how it has been programmed to help with the flow of traffic at that particular time of day,
Traffic filter lights can be located anywhere including box junctions. Make sure that you are aware if a yellow box junction is present. If a green filter light is lit, you may only proceed if your exit is clear and you must not stop on the yellow box.
When the green filter light is on
Below the red car turning right at a crossroads has priority where a filter traffic light is directing traffic turning right. If you are turning right as the diagram suggests and the green filter traffic light is lit, then the oncoming traffic will have a red light giving you priority.
When the green filter light is off
If turning right and your green filter light is off, but the green solid light is still lit, then you can still proceed providing you give way to oncoming vehicles and wait at the point of turn, just as you would when turning right into any new road.
Traffic light turns red
If you are waiting to turn right and the lights change from green to red, ensure you exit the junction by turning right when the remaining oncoming vehicles have stopped. Never remain inside the junction as you will stop the flow of traffic. Note – you have already crossed the stop line so you have made the decision to go therefore you must complete the manoeuvre that you have decided to do.
Traffic Light Stop Lines
All traffic lights have a stop line. Advanced stop lines such as the images above allow for cyclists to stop ahead of other vehicles in a bay often in a alternative colour to the road. All traffic must stop at the first line when the lights are red and avoid entering the cycle bay when stationary.
During Your Driving Test
During your driving test, dealing with traffic lights will require a similar technique to dealing with junctions and other situations. The MSPSL (Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed and Look) routine must be applied.
A good level of awareness and planning is also required. For example, if approaching traffic lights and from a distance they have been on green for some time, as you approach, be aware that there is a good chance that they may change to red and try to plan for this in advance. This is a similar awareness and planning procedure that needs to be applied to traffic lights at pedestrian crossings, so if you see ahead people waiting to cross as you approach, then there is a good chance that the lights will change before you get there.
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