Safe In 60: Navigating The Two-Way Left Turn Lane

Oct 7, 2019, 5:22 AM | Updated: 7:33 am

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – We have all been there: sitting in traffic that is backed up for blocks. And if you’re planning to turn left down the road, that shared center lane may be calling your name. But your safety isn’t worth those few extra seconds.

A two-way left turn lane, sometimes called a shared turn lane or center left turn lane, is the lane in the middle of a two-way street that is painted with double yellow lines. The inner lines are broken yellow, and the outer lines are solid yellow.

Because the lane is used by both directions of traffic, the potential for meeting someone head-on is high. That’s why they should only be used for short distances.

The two-way left turn lane allows for traffic in both directions to:

  • Turn left from the roadway onto a side street or into parking lot, or driveway.
  • Turn left into the roadway from a side street, parking lot or driveway.
  • Make a U-turn when not otherwise prohibited. Utah law states motorists cannot use the lane for more than 500 feet before they turn left or merge into traffic. The lane can never be used as a travel lane or for passing vehicles.

When turning left from the roadway onto a side street, parking lot or driveway:

  • Turn on your left turn signal, check behind you, then make sure there isn’t any oncoming traffic inside the center two-way left turn lane before entering.
  • Drive into the two-way left turn lane, slow to a stop if needed and wait for oncoming traffic to clear for you to turn left or make a U-turn.

When turning left from a side street, driveway or parking lot into the main roadway:

  • Turn on your left turn signal, check traffic to the left, in front of you, and inside the center two-way left turn lane and make sure it is clear.
  • Make the left turn into the center two-way lane and wait for the traffic to clear to your right to enter the roadway. Come to a stop if it is not clear to enter traffic and wait until it’s safe to merge.

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Safe In 60: Navigating The Two-Way Left Turn Lane