Center Left-Turn Lanes

Let's take a look at the law on Center Left-Turn Lanes.

Most people leave out the "Left-Turn" part of the description when talking about these lanes, which is precisely the issue. The confusion and incorrect usage surrounding center left-turn lanes leads to many accidents.

A center left-turn lane is defined as:

  • A two-way left turn lane is a lane near the center of the highway and designated by parallel double yellow lines, with the interior line dashed and the exterior line solid, on each side of the lane. Such lanes, whether with or without indicating arrows, shall be used only for making left-hand turns as provided in

This movement is covered under City Ordinance SECTION 340.200 

"Use of Center Turning Lane

A.  When a roadway is divided by two (2) or more lanes in opposing directions with a center lane between the regularly traveled lanes of traffic, it shall be unlawful for a vehicle to be driven in said center lane for a distance greater than five hundred (500) feet from the driver of such vehicle's intended left turn.

B.  It shall be unlawful for a vehicle to enter the center lane, as defined in Subsection (A) above, from the roadway referred to above, and not, thereafter, make a left turn therefrom as prescribed in Subsection (A) above."

One of the reasons for this ordinance is to aid the flow of traffic. 

If a vehicle is occupying the space needed for a driver trying to make a left turn, it slows down all the traffic behind them. The vehicle stopped in the center lane can block the view of other drivers making this a contributing factor in a collision. Additionally, the sudden slowing of traffic can catch a driver unaware and a collision can be the result.

Please drive courteously; remember waiting those few extra moments can save you from being involved in a collision!