Some roads have a center lane running between two or more lanes traveling in opposite directions. This lane is commonly referred to as the center lane or a two-way, left-turn lane.

This lane can be used by vehicles traveling in either direction to make a left turn or a U-turn.

The lane is beneficial to reduce traffic. Those vehicles turning left or making a U-turn can enter this lane to wait for an opening instead of holding up traffic that is continuing forward. When a center lane is present, its use is mandatory for any vehicle turning left.

Caution is Needed When Using the Center Lane

The center lane is not a travel lane.

Drivers need to watch for other vehicles entering and exiting the lane from ALL directions. Another vehicle could come up behind them as they are entering the center lane.

Two drivers entering the center lane at the same time from different directions is a potential hazard. At times, neither driver has reached their anticipated turn. One of the drivers will have to exit the center lane for either driver to be able to make their turn.

Center Lane is NOT a Merge Lane

Using the center lane to merge into traffic is not an authorized use. It is a common violation to use the lane as a merge lane. This can be dangerous.

A driver is attempting to take a left turn into the main travel lane of the roadway and becomes frustrated by a continuous flow of traffic in both directions. They turn into the center lane to position themselves at the halfway point in preparation to merge into their intended lane.

Travel Limited in Lane to 200 Feet

Driving in the center lane is limited to 200 feet. Drivers should not enter the center lane until they are almost at the place where they want to turn. Other drivers traveling in the opposite direction could enter the lane at any time, risking a head-on collision.

If you are in an accident involving a center lane, contact our office. We are here to help with all your accident needs.

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