Morning Commute Hack – Advanced Green Light Anyone?

Here's my contribution for the 'lifehacking' culture out there. And it's a little bit selfish:

It's typically heavy morning traffic and you have to make a left turn at a set of traffic lights, as you approach the intersection the lights are red for you. If you're the only one in the left hand turn lane, chances are good that little old you is NOT going to get the advanced (flashing/arrow) green light to let you go first when the light changes.

So don't pull all the way up to the intersection and wait. Instead, hang back a full car-length from the light. At many intersections, if you hang back a car length it can fool the sensors buried in the road and makes them think there is more than one car waiting to make the left. The result? It gives you the advanced green light.

I'm not going to say it works for me every time at every intersection, but it has worked on this one turn I make each workday morning for the last 4 years.


– Check for the asphalt cutlines indicating the sensors buried in the road. You can sometimes spot where the sensor is and stop on top of it to better your chances.
– Sometimes you will spot two sensors (one close to the line and one further back) – stop on the one further back.
– If you spot a car approaching behind you, move ahead when it gets there. I hate it when people ahead of me don't pull up. Don't be annoying in the name of self-promotion.


– No idea if this contravenes any traffic laws.
– No idea if this works in countries other than Canada.
– Of course there are probably countless different traffic signaling systems – this works for me, you mileage (hehe) may vary.
– Don't kid yourself. You *are* being selfish. I try to convince myself that I deserve some 'reasonably small reward' for being such a courteous driver (I'm not given to fits of road rage, don't cut people off, flip people the bird, talk on the phone etc..). But alas, I'm being selfish. Maybe spreading the word about it will make me feel less guilty. 😉


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