There can be few things more irritating than waiting patiently to enter a yellow box junction, only to see cars from the opposite direction “trying their luck” and stopping mid-box – when it’s obvious that there is nowhere for them to go.
Not only are those anti-social drivers preventing you moving when the lights are in your favour by blocking you, they are also committing an offence.
The new Highway Code is quite specific – you should enter the box junction only if your exit road is clear.
The only exception is if you are turning right, when you can stop in the box while you wait for a gap in the traffic..providing the exit is clear.
If you wait outside the box in these circumstances, you could fail your driving test.
When the way is clear move away smartly and do not cause an obstruction. But be careful when queuing inside the box junction as you may not have time to clear the junction before the traffic lights change.
So why do so many drivers at peak times ignore the rule?
The “tit for tat” mentality kicks in – if “they” are going to ignore the box, then “I” can as well. Queuing traffic behind you may even encourage you to follow suit by pulling right up to your rear bumper and giving you a toot to keep you moving.
Even if you find yourself slightly over the yellow box marking because something catches you out, you should still show restraint. A technical violation of a few inches will still allow other vehicles to use the junction unimpeded. But beware: some camera systems may still penalise you. That said, there is a world of difference between having your front wheels over the yellow paint and going the whole hog by just driving right into the middle.
There are no winners when the box junction system breaks down. So you should aim to be the driver who resets the equilibrium by setting a good example.
Have faith: the traffic will move again – and your blood pressure will be a lot lower!