Turning Lane Is It Turning Left Or Going Straight.

Topic 19954 | Page 1

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Dennis W.'s Comment
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I find myself approaching left turning lanes, and trying to determine (before I get too far into the lanes and have traffic around me) which ones are turning left or going straight. I know I need to stay in the right lane when turning left, but things aren't always marked well. Is there any visual clues I can use before the intersection to help me?

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Welcome Dennis! That's a good question. That's got me thinking. I'm not sure if I know a hard and fast way to determine that for certain every time without either clear road markings or seeing two red or green arrows.

I think the first thing to look at is the signal lights themselves. Maybe not always, but I think most of the time that you have two left hand turning lanes you'll have a signal light in front of each lane, and they'll probably both be green arrows, not just a green light. So if you see three total lanes but only two signal lights I would tend to guess there is only one turning lane.

Another thing you can do is look across the intersection at the oncoming lanes. You might notice two cars side by side with their turn signals on waiting to make a left, which means they obviously have two left hand turning lanes, so you may also.

Another thing would be to try to look at the road in the intersection itself to see if you can see tire marks or dips in the road indicating the path that vehicles normally take through the intersection.

Of course the road you're getting ready to turn onto will never just have one lane to turn onto if you have two left hand turning lanes to turn from, so it would have to be a minimum of two lanes in the direction you're getting ready to go.

I'm hoping some of the drivers here have some insights into that one. That's a good question.

I remember when I first went solo one of my biggest concerns was making sure I didn't enter the truck stop through the car parking lot. I used to be really concerned about that. From the time I got off the exit ramp I'd be studying the truck stop from a distance, hoping to figure out for sure which entrance is the right one for trucks long before I had to make a commitment. I can't remember ever turning into the car lot, but I'll bet I did a time or two but wasn't quite mortified enough for it to stick in my long term memory.

smile.gif

Bud A.'s Comment
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There are a couple of other things you can look for in addition to what Brett said. They aren't always there, but first I look for a sign like this:

0B37B73B-4CB5-48F1-8F5F-AC877ED98A16-med.gif

I also look for painted arrows in the lanes on the road. Sometimes that's so faded it's hard to see, though.

If I'm really concerned about clearing something when going around the corner, I'll wait for a break in traffic and take the extra lane anyway, or wait for the joker who stopped past the line to back up or otherwise get out of the way.

And yeah, once I turned into the wrong lane at a truck stop. Had to back out onto the road. Embarrassing.

G-Town's Comment
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Interesting. Can you give us an example of an unmarked intersection, location?

In the North East most of the intersections are clearly and conspicuously marked, including white reflective lane borders painted on the approach to the intersection. I'd say 100% are marked in the heavily travelled urban centers and surrounding suburbs. In the more rural areas of upstate, central & western PA, extreme North West NJ and extreme South Jersey, the intersections are not always clearly marked. I know most of the roads where I drive, but when I was just getting to know my territory, I used a similar rule of thumb as suggested by Brett. Not always, but many times if the intersection is not clearly marked, delineating a separate left hand turning lane, arrows, there probably isn't one. You definitely should observe all signs though, including "no left turn", "do not enter", and "left lane must turn".

Proceed with caution...and if you are not sure just take your time. At least for me, the areas devoid of markings are lightly travelled, usually taking the intersection uncontested.

Dennis W.'s Comment
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Thanks, Brett. You used the right word for me. Wanting to be sure before I commit. Helpful, especially the lights and the number of lanes I will be turning in to.

Unholychaos's Comment
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On the subject of turning lanes, if there are 2 RIGHT turning lanes, are we supposed to use the right lane or the left lane? I'm about 90% sure I was taught to use the right lane, but my uncle has me doubting myself by saying he was taught to use the left lane.

G-Town's Comment
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On the subject of turning lanes, if there are 2 RIGHT turning lanes, are we supposed to use the right lane or the left lane? I'm about 90% sure I was taught to use the right lane, but my uncle has me doubting myself by saying he was taught to use the left lane.

Left unless marked otherwise.

Matt 's Comment
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Really?! ,I always thought it was stay in the right lane also good to know... and another question for the subject two right turn lanes no signs indicating no turn on red. Can both lanes turn on red?

Unholychaos's Comment
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Really?! ,I always thought it was stay in the right lane also good to know... and another question for the subject two right turn lanes no signs indicating no turn on red. Can both lanes turn on red?

Technically, if there's nothing that says you can't do it, you can do it. Just gotta be careful and watch those corners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
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double-quotes-start.png

Really?! ,I always thought it was stay in the right lane also good to know... and another question for the subject two right turn lanes no signs indicating no turn on red. Can both lanes turn on red?

double-quotes-end.png

Technically, if there's nothing that says you can't do it, you can do it. Just gotta be careful and watch those corners.

Legally, not technically. Technically using the left most lane for a two lane right turn is less risky, easier to perform.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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