Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 01-12-2012, 02:30 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 1,574
Two left-turn lanes onto a three-lane road

There's a turn I make on my way to work where there are two left-turn lanes that turn onto a street with three lanes in each direction. I'm wondering who, if anyone, has right-of-way to turn directly into the middle lane. I would think no one does and it would be incredibly rude to do so unless there's no one in the lane beside you, but I see people do it all the time. It's a confusing and aggravating situation.

Last edited by snailboy; 01-12-2012 at 02:31 AM.
#2
Old 01-12-2012, 03:53 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 1999
Location: San Leandro, CA USA
Posts: 6,302
California here. On a double left turn lane there are clearly marked lines (or sometimes Botts' Dots) that clearly indicate the leftmost person turns into the far left lane, and the next driver turns into the middle lane.

Are you saying the rightmost driver should turn into the right lane instead? I don't think a lot of people realize this, but by law you're supposed to turn into the lane closest to you, then change lanes. It's one of those laws no one follows.

Last edited by voguevixen; 01-12-2012 at 03:54 AM. Reason: closed parenthesis
#3
Old 01-12-2012, 09:48 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3,644
The person on the right in the double left turn lane goes in the middle lane. They don't cross the middle to go into the right lane. If there is a single left turn lane onto a two lane road, you still make a sharp left and stay in the left lane, although many people seem to want to slide into the right lane instead.
#4
Old 01-12-2012, 10:48 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 33,416
Quote:
Originally Posted by snailboy View Post
There's a turn I make on my way to work where there are two left-turn lanes that turn onto a street with three lanes in each direction. I'm wondering who, if anyone, has right-of-way to turn directly into the middle lane. I would think no one does and it would be incredibly rude to do so unless there's no one in the lane beside you, but I see people do it all the time. It's a confusing and aggravating situation.
I'm confused. Are you saying that the cars in both turn lanes should turn into the same lane?

Anyway, the rule is:

1. The car in the extreme left turn lane should turn into the leftmost lane.
2. The car in the next left turn lane should turn into the center lane.
3. Neither should turn directly into the right lane.
#5
Old 01-12-2012, 11:18 AM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Port Orchard, WA
Posts: 11,149
To clarify for California...
A single left turn lane can finish the turn in any lane. Two left turn lanes, the left-most turn ends in the left-most lane, the outer turn can choose any lane, but the handbook says they should use a middle lane if one is available. Note that "should" does not mean illegal, just like you "shouldn't" change lanes in an intersection, but it's not illegal.

(CA online driver's handbook page on turns.)
#6
Old 01-12-2012, 11:23 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: New London, CT
Posts: 3,820
Quote:
Originally Posted by voguevixen View Post
Are you saying the rightmost driver should turn into the right lane instead? I don't think a lot of people realize this, but by law you're supposed to turn into the lane closest to you, then change lanes. It's one of those laws no one follows.
This was what I was always told, too. Confusingly, though, the Texas Driver's Handbook (where the OP is located) says that you should "enter the lane in which you will interfere the least with other traffic", and has a diagram with arrows going from a car into either lane. See page 6-6 of this PDF. They do say, however, that you should also "watch for pavement markings and signs which permit turning right or left from or into two or more traffic lanes."
#7
Old 01-12-2012, 01:17 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 1,574
Quote:
Originally Posted by voguevixen View Post
California here. On a double left turn lane there are clearly marked lines (or sometimes Botts' Dots) that clearly indicate the leftmost person turns into the far left lane, and the next driver turns into the middle lane.
I forgot to mention that while we often have those, this particular turn does not.

Quote:
Are you saying the rightmost driver should turn into the right lane instead?
I'm saying that's what seems most intuitive to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
I'm confused. Are you saying that the cars in both turn lanes should turn into the same lane?
I'm not sure how you got that. I'm saying what seems most intuitive to me would be the person in the leftmost turn lane turns into the left lane and the person in the right turn lane turns into the right lane. Either can then move into the center lane using their turn signal. But that's just what makes sense to me. I'm asking for what's legal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
This was what I was always told, too. Confusingly, though, the Texas Driver's Handbook (where the OP is located) says that you should "enter the lane in which you will interfere the least with other traffic", and has a diagram with arrows going from a car into either lane. See page 6-6 of this PDF. They do say, however, that you should also "watch for pavement markings and signs which permit turning right or left from or into two or more traffic lanes."
I think that diagram is for a single left-turn lane though. They don't seem to talk about when there are two left-turn lanes.
#8
Old 01-12-2012, 01:43 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3,644
According to Illinois Rules of the Road, when you make a left turn you turn into the lane closest to you. In a two lane left turn situation, then, the person on the right would go into the center lane, not cross over to the right lane.
#9
Old 01-12-2012, 02:07 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 10,703
It's better for the person on the right to go into the center lane. The right hand lane usually has people making right hand turns onto it from the other side.
I'm one of those people trying to make a right hand turn and theres always a bunch of people making their left hand turns sweeping all the way over into my lane.
#10
Old 01-12-2012, 02:26 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 33,416
Quote:
Originally Posted by snailboy View Post
I'm not sure how you got that. I'm saying what seems most intuitive to me would be the person in the leftmost turn lane turns into the left lane and the person in the right turn lane turns into the right lane. Either can then move into the center lane using their turn signal. But that's just what makes sense to me. I'm asking for what's legal.
I don't think that's the most intuitive at all. What's most intuitive is that if you start turning in adjacent lanes, you complete your turn in adjacent lanes.
#11
Old 01-12-2012, 02:36 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 1,574
Well intuition doesn't really matter so much anyway. Can someone perhaps provide a cite proving that the way it is in your states about moving into the closest possible lane is the way it is in Texas? It would really ease my mind knowing for certain that if I'm in the rightmost left-turn lane in this situation and turn into the center lane but someone in the leftmost left-turn lane tries to do the same and hits me that I'm in the right and won't be responsible for damages.
#12
Old 01-12-2012, 05:09 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Texas, USA
Posts: 9,457
I live in Dallas, too - care to share which intersection you're talking about? I've seen plenty of 2-into-3 left turns and they're always, ALWAYS striped so you can see which lane is "yours." (Granted, the paint may be faded.)

Usually, they're striped so that the left lane turns into the left lane, and the rightmost of the two left-turn lanes "gets" both the center and right lanes of the street they're turning on. Although in practice, one generally avoids that right lane because of the right-on-red-turners. *waves at Hampshire*
#13
Old 01-12-2012, 06:24 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 1,689
Alberta here and the rule here is left goes to left and right goes to center.

As noted above, the big consideration is drivers in the oncoming lane making right turns into the (presumably empty) right lane. If the right lane driver turns into the right-most lane, it could cause collisions.

Everyone keeping to their lanes seems like common sense, but I've been brought up that way and I guess others see it differently.
#14
Old 01-12-2012, 06:33 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Calgary
Posts: 3,819
Isn't there generally a law against changing lanes in an intersection? Moving in to the righ lane instead of center would constitute changing lanes in the intersection. However, I'm not sure if this law is in effect in your state.
#15
Old 01-13-2012, 02:04 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 1,574
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
I live in Dallas, too - care to share which intersection you're talking about? I've seen plenty of 2-into-3 left turns and they're always, ALWAYS striped so you can see which lane is "yours." (Granted, the paint may be faded.)
Eastbound on Walnut Hill turning left onto Greenville. If there are stripes, they are heavily faded. I've never noticed them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EmAnJ View Post
Isn't there generally a law against changing lanes in an intersection? Moving in to the righ lane instead of center would constitute changing lanes in the intersection. However, I'm not sure if this law is in effect in your state.
While I was looking for information about the left turns, I found this site which says it isn't illegal in Texas or any other state that he could find. It seems to be a rumor.
#16
Old 01-13-2012, 02:08 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 1,574
For anyone that wants to look, here is the intersection. Zooming in to street view, I think I can actually see some very faded stripes. It's hard to see them while driving.
#17
Old 01-13-2012, 02:34 AM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 43,473
Quote:
Originally Posted by EmAnJ View Post
Isn't there generally a law against changing lanes in an intersection? Moving in to the righ lane instead of center would constitute changing lanes in the intersection. However, I'm not sure if this law is in effect in your state.
In the intersection like this that I go through, there are no lanes in the intersection. If there are marked lanes you do have to stay in them in California. I believe I have read in Mr. Roadshow that it is okay for the driver on the right to go into the rightmost lane if the intersection is not striped. That is clearly a safe thing to do.

As for right turners, if the intersection has a left arrow, as this one does, those turning left have the right of way and right turners should only do it when safe. One place where I turn right, onto a busy street, allows left turners to make u-turns, and many do into the rightmost lane. They still have right of way and anyone making a right into a collision is at fault.
#18
Old 01-13-2012, 03:15 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Ontari-ari-ari-o
Posts: 1,031
Quote:
Originally Posted by snailboy View Post
For anyone that wants to look, here is the intersection. Zooming in to street view, I think I can actually see some very faded stripes. It's hard to see them while driving.
Based on that intersection, I would suggest that the left goes to left and centre goes to centre since there is a dedicated right-turn lane in the other direction that should turn into the curb lane.

We have a similar issue near us. There are 2 left-turn lanes onto a 4 lane road (NE to SE). The lane markings are clear on the source/destination lanes. For some reason a large percentage of drivers must turn from the left lane and immediately slide to the curb lane...4 lanes over! I'm not entirely sure what the mental block is to use the (right)left-turn lane to get to the highway entrance a block to the south.
#19
Old 01-14-2012, 01:54 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 1,574
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantara View Post
Based on that intersection, I would suggest that the left goes to left and centre goes to centre since there is a dedicated right-turn lane in the other direction that should turn into the curb lane.
Yeah, but you can only turn right when safe to do so, and I'm pretty sure that excludes when people are turning left from across the street.
#20
Old 07-27-2015, 08:24 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 1
Look at the intersection posted below, in this case the far left lane (1) has the choice of lanes 1 or 2 in this intersection based on the previous statement about the dotted lines.

lanes
l1l2l3l

15 South Sam Houston Pkwy E
Houston, TX 77047
29.597821, -95.386029
#21
Old 07-28-2015, 02:10 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 1,574
Well, since this old thread has been resurrected...

Since making this thread, that intersection was repainted. Someone in the leftmost turn lane has to turn into the leftmost lane on Greenville and someone in the right lane gets a choice of the middle or right. I work on the other side of town now though so I don't pass by there very often anymore.

I also learned the hard way that it's safer to turn into the right lane rather than the center when a drunk driver crossed the stripes and ran into my car (at another intersection that had very apparent stripes).

I've yet to find a law saying what to do if there aren't stripes, but it's also pretty rare that I see such an intersection without visible stripes. I've concluded that legally there are supposed to be stripes there and if they've worn off, it's anybody's guess.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:08 AM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: mapology trimps mashup costumes k cup sizes 1920s coffee radio shack parts naturism erections freshwater mussels edible suicide noose alvin tostig wikipedia stripping books orthanc height rent motorcycles near me what to do if you run out of gas and have no money coffee cups and saucers my outlet stopped working leftover grilled pork chop recipes is times new roman bigger than calibri why is water coming out of my exhaust pipe how long does it take to digest corn my pee smells like coffee mono e mono definition computer desk no keyboard tray buying high fructose corn syrup wife wont give oral how much does it cost to euthanize a cat