On my way home, I have to make a couple of left turns. I sometimes find that the green arrow does not turn on, so I have to wait for all the oncoming traffic. During rush hour this often lasts for the entire duration of the signal.
The underlying problem is that most of the intersections with “yield on solid green” signals in the city will only turn on the green arrow when there are 3 to 4 cars in the left turn lane, and often there are only 2.
If you are the second car in the left turn lane, there is a very simple way to ensure that the light goes your way. You simply look for the second car sensor and stop on top of it. As long as you are on top of the sensor before the opposing traffic signal turns yellow, the control box will think there are more cars in the left turn lane and turn on the green arrow for you. Even on freshly paved road, the sensor will be visible – it is a loop of wire sealed into a groove that has been sawed into the pavement.
When you do this, there will be one or two carlengths between you and the car in front of you, and you may get some strange looks. If more cars come up behind you, you can simply roll forward and let them activate the sensor.
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That does not seem to work here in the NC however. I honestly think that all lights are simply on timers and traffic shaping is not done at all.