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How far is too far in a left turn lane?

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How far can I go in a left turn lane that is in the center dividing two lanes of traffic in each direction for the purpose of turning left before it is illegal? We have all seen them around. We have all wondered how far can I travel in them to overtake traffic.

How far can you go in a turn lane to make a turn? If you are planning on taking a left turn into a business in a turn lane, you cannot use this lane unless the business you are turning into is less than 300 feet away or about the length of a football field. This is not very far.

Can I travel in a turn lane to overtake traffic? No, you cannot enter a turn lane in order to overtake or pass other cars going in the same direction. Turn lanes depicted like this are for left turns only.

What happens if you cause a car accident while driving in a turn lane too far? If you are in a turn lane for more than 300 feet or your destination from when you entered the turn lane was more than 300 feet away, you are potentially at fault for a car accident that you cause. However, the other vehicles around you must have also acted reasonably in their assumption that there is no traffic in the center lane and they took precautions to enter the turn lane safely.

Therefore, if you want to get into a left turn lane to take a left, you should make sure that where you want to take a left turn at is less than 300 feet away. 300 feet away is about 6 seconds of travel for a car going 35 mph, about 5 seconds for a car traveling 40mph, and about 4 seconds for a car traveling 45 to 50mph.

The law-

RCW 46.61.290(3)(c) Upon a roadway where a center lane has been provided by distinctive pavement markings for the use of vehicles turning left from either direction, no vehicles may turn left from any other lane. A vehicle shall not be driven in this center lane for the purpose of overtaking or passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction. No vehicle may travel further than three hundred feet within the lane. A signal, either electric or manual, for indicating a left turn movement, shall be made at least one hundred feet before the actual left turn movement is made.

 

Andrew CherinHow far is too far in a left turn lane?

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