Guide to Yellow Box Junctions
Research shows that more than half of UK motorist do not understand the box junction rules. There is a high chance that a box junction or even two will appear in a driving test. So, if you are planning to take a practical driving test, understanding box junctions are vital.
What is a Yellow Box Junction?
A box junction a yellow box filled with criss-cross yellow lines painted on the road. It is designed as a traffic control measure to prevent gridlock at junctions. It is very easily recognisable. Understanding how box junctions works are vital to keeping the traffic flowing. On the DVSA driving test, not applying the correct rules at a box junction is considered a serious fault. Even one serious fault in the driving test will result in a failure.
The Highway Code
- Box junctions. These have criss-cross yellow lines painted on the road. You MUST NOT enter the box until your exit road or lane is clear. However, you may enter the box and wait when you want to turn right, and are only stopped from doing so by oncoming traffic, or by other vehicles waiting to turn right. At signalled roundabouts, you MUST NOT enter the box unless you can cross over it completely without stopping.
What is the Purpose of a Box Junction?
Box junctions tend can usually be found on large busy junctions such as crossroads and T-junctions. Box junctions are usually controlled by traffic lights but this is not always the case. Occasionally they are found at roundabouts to keep traffic flowing. You should only enter a box junction if your exit is clear. As mentioned earlier more than half of all drivers get confused at yellow box junctions. But do they get confused at normal crossroads? Well, this may be news to you but there is no difference a junction without a yellow box a junction with a yellow box.
So, Why Have a Box Junction?
Whether you are doing a driving test or you have already passed your test, you should keep all junction clear. Only proceed at a junction if your exit is clear. Box junction or no box junction, the rules are exactly the same. However, there is only one difference. A yellow box junction is enforced by fines. If you blocked a normal junction, you may get drivers giving you dirty looks. You may even get receive a horn or two. However, block a box junction and you may receive a £100 fine. Box junctions are placed by the council at junctions where there is a proven problem.
Turning Left at a Box Junction
If you wanted to left at a normal junction without a yellow box, but with traffic lights, you would normally wait behind the stop line at the red light. When the light changes green, you would proceed into the new road. Exactly the same applies at yellow box junctions. However, in heavy traffic, a few drivers would edge forward with half the car in the new road and the other half sticking out. This causes problems for drivers in the opposite direction who wish to turn right into the same road that you wish to turn left. Drivers end up getting frustrated with the possibility of road rage. This problem can easily be solved simply by adding a yellow box and issuing a fixed penalty ticket to the driver attempting to turn left and blocking the junction.
Going Straight on at a Box Junction
Once again, let us start of proceeding straight at a junction without a yellow box. The traffic light is red and we are waiting behind the stop line. The lights change in our favour but there is stationary traffic blocking the new road. If we proceed, we will end up blocking the junction. It’s not a problem if traffic starts to move and we clear the junction. However, if the traffic does not move, and then the traffic lights change back to red for us, they will also change green for traffic in the other direction. Unfortunately, due to us being in the middle of the road, the other traffic cannot proceed. As with turning left above, the problem can be solved by installing a yellow box. This would make it an offence for us to proceed until our exit is clear.
Turning right at a Box Junction
Let us start with turning right at normal crossroads which are controlled by traffic lights. The lights are red and we are waiting patiently behind the white stop line. The lights change to green. We can not complete the turning due to oncoming vehicles. We, therefore, proceed to the middle of the junction and wait for either a safe gap in traffic or for the lights to change back to red. Once traffic lights are red, the oncoming traffic will stop and we will have a few seconds to turn into the new road before the traffic in the other direction has a green light.
Now let us take the same situation. We are in the middle for the junction waiting for a gap in traffic but the lights change back to red. We should be able to proceed but what if the road we want to enter is blocked with vehicles. We are now stuck in the middle. The lights in the other direction changes and we are the cause of several angry drivers.
Now, let’s assume there was a box junction. We must look at the road that we want to enter before moving at the green lights. If there is space, we proceed as normal, waiting in the middle for a safe gap. However, if the road we want to enter is blocked, we must not proceed. Actually, we should not proceed regardless if there is a box junction or not.
Box Junctions and the Driving Test
Many learner drivers fail their practical driving test due to the lack of understanding of box junctions. Treat them at you would any other junction and you will not encounter any problems. The reason that so many learner drivers fail the test is that they are afraid to stop the yellow criss-cross lines. You can stop in the yellow box junction as long as you want, provided that your exit is clear.
It is important to understand that if the traffic light is green and your exit is clear, you must proceed. You will fail a driving test for not proceeding. If there are no oncoming vehicles, you may turn right in one go. However, if there are oncoming vehicles which are preventing you from turning right, you must proceed and wait in the middle of the box junction. Box junction or no box junction, the rules are the same. The only difference is that at a box junction, the rules are enforced. Why not consider watching our YouTube Video on Box Junctions.
A Word of Warning
Box junctions, bus lanes and all other motoring rules still apply on a bank holiday and even on Christmas day. Some councils allow free parking in their car parks but still issue parking tickets for yellow line offences. A yellow box junction on Purley Way in Croydon made the council more than £62,000 in fines in a year. A Freedom of Information request shows that 989 penalty charge notices were issued.