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Home / Blog / How to Turn Right Safely at a Traffic Light Box Junction

02 / 05 / 24

How to Turn Right Safely at a Traffic Light Box Junction

Navigating through a traffic light box junction while turning right can be daunting for many drivers so understanding the correct procedures not only enhances road safety but also improves traffic flow. This blog will cover essential techniques including the MSPSL routine, the “walk across” rule, rules for stopping in a yellow box junction, as well as nearside to nearside and offside to offside turning, and the role of green filter lights. You will spend plenty of time with your National Intensive driving instructor on these topics and be at an independent level prior to sitting your practical driving test.

Firstly – Understanding the MSPSL Routine

MSPSL is an acronym that stands for Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed, and Look. It’s a systematic approach that ensures a safe and efficient turn:

  1. Mirror: Check your centre and right mirror approaching the right turn to assess the position and speed of traffic behind you. Awareness of surrounding traffic is crucial before you signal your intent to turn.
  2. Signal: Indicate your intention to turn right well in advance, giving other drivers ample notice of your actions. Try to not mislead / confuse anyone with an indicator too early or too late
  3. Position: Position your vehicle to the right side of your lane to signal your intention to turn right. Make sure you’re within any marked lanes correctly.
  4. Speed: Adjust your speed as you approach the junction. Slow down and prepare to stop if necessary, maintaining control and giving yourself time to react to the traffic light and other road users.
  5. Look: Observe the junction, looking out for pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles. Make sure you have a clear view of any potential hazards or obstructions before proceeding.

Watching for Pedestrians Crossing

This rule emphasizes the importance of drivers being aware of pedestrian crossings at junctions. If pedestrians are crossing or about to cross the road into which you are turning, you must give them priority. Only proceed once the pedestrians have safely crossed.

Yellow Box Junctions: Can and Cannot Stop

A yellow box junction is designed to keep intersections clear and traffic flowing. The key rule here is simple:

  • Do Not Enter the Box Unless Your Exit Road is Clear: You should not enter the box junction unless you can clear it without stopping, except when you are turning right and are only prevented from doing so because of oncoming traffic or other vehicles waiting to turn right.

Turning Techniques: Nearside to Nearside and Offside to Offside

  • Nearside to Nearside Turning: This involves vehicles approaching each other from opposite directions and turning into roads on their nearest side, passing each other on the driver’s side. It’s commonly used in tight junctions and urban areas to avoid crossing paths too closely. Most junctions in the UK tend to use this method.
  • Offside to Offside Turning: Here, vehicles approach from opposite directions but turn in front of each other, so the opposite car will drive past your right side before turning, allowing for a clearer view of oncoming traffic. This method is preferred on wider roads or where drivers’ visibility is limited.

Green Filter Lights

These lights play a crucial role in managing traffic flow at intersections. A green filter light indicates that it’s your turn to move in the direction shown by the arrow on the signal, separate from the main traffic lights. This light simplifies turns by providing a clear indication when to proceed, reducing confusion and increasing safety. Filter lights can come on at the start of the sequence, at the end or not at all if the junction is designed for that at certain times of the day.


Turning right at a traffic light box junction requires attentiveness and adherence to specific driving rules and routines. By following the MSPSL routine, respecting the “walk across” rule, understanding when to stop in a yellow box junction, and using appropriate turning techniques, you can navigate these complex driving situations with confidence. Always be mindful of green filter lights, as they guide you safely through your turn. Safe driving is about patience, precision, and preparation—qualities that ensure not only your safety but also that of other road users.



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