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DriveSmart BC – Hey It’s A Left Turn Lane, NOT An Acceleration Lane! (Op-Ed)

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Burnaby, BC – A gentleman from Courtenay explained about the regular difficulty that he encountered when he used the two way left turn lanes in that city. Most recently, he was travelling northbound on Cliffe Avenue attempting a left turn into Tim Horton’s. A woman turned southbound out of the Husky just ahead of him into the two way left turn lane as well. They were now approaching each other head on.

Legally, this woman is required to leave the two way left turn lane by turning left once she has occupied it. The gentleman is entitled to expect that she will obey the law and will not interfere with his left turn. It’s a good thing that she used her right turn signal and he saw it. Waiting to turn left prevented a collision that would have occurred had he turned when she accelerated into the first through lane on her right.

Wrongly, many drivers see the relatively quiet two way left turn lane as a way to reduce the complication of crossing three lanes of traffic and occupying the first available lane for their intended direction of travel. Instead, they move into the turn lane, accelerate to the speed of surrounding traffic and then move right into the lane they should have entered in the first instance.

Turning left is one of the more dangerous moves that we make when we drive. When traffic is heavy it can be difficult to track and account for all of the drivers who are following the rules. The woman should not have left the Husky driveway if she could not comfortably reach the correct lane. Probably unwittingly, she made a left turn less safe for someone else when she did this.

The author is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit drivesmartbc.ca.


Constable Tim Schewe (Retired)

DriveSmartBC: Where better than average drivers satisfy their curiosity.

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