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Thread: Using center-turning lane as a merge

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    Using center-turning lane as a merge

    Settle this argument I've got with my brother for me, PLEASE!!

    It is my understanding that the center lane of a roadway (see illustration) are for the exclusive use of people turning left off the above mentioned roadway. It's his understanding that those lanes are also available for drivers trying to turn left off a side street, but when traffic is heavy you can pull into those lanes and merge back into the through traffic lane when safe to do so.


    Who's right? Thanks!
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    Wow, you guys sure like to test me with some of these questions! LOL I have mentioned that I am not assigned to a traffic unit, right?

    OK, having said that, I have done a little research, and what I can tell you, is that the rules are not just cut and dry with these lanes. At first glance, it appears that these lanes are strictly for the use of vehicles turning left, but there are some variables....


    Sec 141 of the Highway Traffic Act is pretty clear about turning left from one lane for traffic, to another lane for traffic:

    Left turn, at intersection

    (6) Where a driver or operator of a vehicle intends to turn to the left into an intersecting highway, he or she shall, where the highway on which he or she is driving has marked lanes for traffic, approach the intersection within the left-hand lane provided for the use of traffic moving in the direction in which his or her vehicle is proceeding or, where it has no such marked lanes, by keeping immediately to the right of the centre line of the highway and he or she shall make the left turn by entering the intersection to the right of the centre line or its extension and by leaving the intersection in the left-hand lane provided for the use of traffic moving in the direction in which his or her vehicle is proceeding where the lane is marked or, where no such lane is marked, by passing immediately to the right of the centre line of the intersecting highway. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 141 (6).


    Then there is this, which shows that IF there happens to be someone coming from either direction (including using the middle lane), that vehicle will have the right of way. It appears that this scenario is the cause of MANY collisions from when I was doing a little research on this.

    Section 136 of the Highway Traffic Act

    Stop at through highway

    136. (1) Every driver or street car operator approaching a stop sign at an intersection,

    (a) shall stop his or her vehicle or street car at a marked stop line or, if none, then immediately before entering the nearest crosswalk or, if none, then immediately before entering the intersection; and

    (b) shall yield the right of way to traffic in the intersection or approaching the intersection on another highway so closely that to proceed would constitute an immediate hazard and, having so yielded the right of way, may proceed. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 136 (1).



    Both of the above would indicate that you are correct in your analysis of your friend's scenario. Then, I found this, which would only apply in the case of a 3 lane situation (not 5 lane as in your diagram).



    Where highway divided into lanes

    154. (1) Where a highway has been divided into clearly marked lanes for traffic,

    (a) a vehicle shall be driven as nearly as may be practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until the driver has first ascertained that the movement can be made with safety;

    (b) in the case of a highway that is divided into three lanes, a vehicle shall not be driven in the centre lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle where the roadway is clearly visible and the centre lane is clear of traffic within a reasonable safe distance, or in preparation for a left turn, or where the centre lane is at the time designated for the use of traffic moving in the direction in which the vehicle is proceeding and official signs are erected to indicate the designation;

    (c) any lane may be designated for slowly moving traffic, traffic moving in a particular direction or classes or types of vehicles and, despite section 141, where a lane is so designated and official signs indicating the designation are erected, every driver shall obey the instructions on the official signs. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 154 (1).



    This whole scenario with these centre lanes seems to be a real can of worms. There are a LOT of variables, including where a dedicated left turn lane emerges from the centre turn lane, whether or not the lane is designated with actual (overhead) signage as opposed to just pavement markings, etc etc.

    I urge anyone reading this, to please take care using these lanes as a merge lane. Again, it appears these lanes are resulting in many collisions from improper use. I would also advise, that if you have any of these centre lanes specifically in mind in your neighbourhood, or ones you see frequently, take a trip down to the Provincial Courthouse in your jurisdiction, and speak with the local prosecutor or perhaps even the JP. There could be some local rulings dealing with these lanes.

    I hope (although a little long-winded), this helps!
    Last edited by ON OFFroad; 08-07-2012 at 05:43 PM.
    Opinions expressed are those of the author, accuracy of information posted cannot be guaranteed. These opinions in no way represent the OPP, any other Police Department or Police Officer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ON OFFroad View Post

    (b) in the case of a highway that is divided into three lanes, a vehicle shall not be driven in the centre lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle where the roadway is clearly visible and the centre lane is clear of traffic within a reasonable safe distance, or in preparation for a left turn, or where the centre lane is at the time designated for the use of traffic moving in the direction in which the vehicle is proceeding and official signs are erected to indicate the designation;
    So if I'm reading this right, and I truly hope I'm not, does that mean it's actually legal on a 3 lane road with the centre lake marked as in Noltz's diagram above, to use the centre turn lane for overtaking as long as it's clear?
    You never truly know your limits until you exceed them....

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    I know.... I know..... I read it the same way - although ONLY where it is 3 lanes.

    Again though, there are the other factors to consider, such as how the lane is marked (you can be charged for disobeying a sign), does it become a dedicated left turn lane for only one direction, etc.etc.

    I sure wouldn't be doing it, for the sheer fact that SO many things could go sideways....
    Last edited by ON OFFroad; 08-07-2012 at 05:46 PM.

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    Kind of related, not sure if this has been asked elsewhere...will move to a new thread if you feel it is too unrelated or worthy of its own thread...the statement of passing in a centre lane made me think of this question.

    Single lane for each direction of traffic...passing on a double yellow/single yellow WITHOUT a dotted line OR WITH dotted line for traffic in other direction AND in either situation no signage stating "no passing" or passing ONLY for the opposite direction...what say the officer in terms of legality of those kind of situations?

    ^ NOT PART OF THE QUESTION, just a clarifying statement to accompany my question - Reasoning for the NO SIGNAGE portion of the question is my understanding that posted signage overrules any normally permitted behaviour - eg. left turns are permitted at intersection as long as you would not be turning on to a 1 way street against flow of traffic, but some intersections have "No Left Turn" signage.
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    Correct, it is usually ALWAYS an offence to disobey a posted sign.

    From Sec 182(2) of the Highway Traffic Act:

    Every driver or operator of a vehicle or street car shall obey the instructions or directions indicated on any sign so erected.

    There are other offences related to specific signs, but the above one is sort of a "catch-all"

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    Quote Originally Posted by ON OFFroad View Post
    Correct, it is usually ALWAYS an offence to disobey a posted sign.

    From Sec 182(2) of the Highway Traffic Act:

    Every driver or operator of a vehicle or street car shall obey the instructions or directions indicated on any sign so erected.

    There are other offences related to specific signs, but the above one is sort of a "catch-all"
    Thank you, but what about the question in yellow text...regarding passing on double or single yellow?

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    Quote Originally Posted by igotafrigginjeep View Post
    Thank you, but what about the question in yellow text...regarding passing on double or single yellow?
    LOL I was confused (happens easily) as you said something about it not being part of your question.

    I can't copy the link to the other thread here on Tapatalk, but if you have a look at post #9 in the "passing and intersections" thread, see if that possibly answers your question. If not, fire away again and I'll see if I can get it sorted out!

    Cheers!

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    Had a look...don't think it relates...

    My question is not to do with turning or passing a vehicle that is turning...rather it is regarding travelling a regular stretch of road lacking any signage stating passing is prohibited. Is it legal to cross a double or single yellow (no dotted line - or dptted for opposing traffic) to pass a vehicle travelling in the same direction as you are?

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    Ok no worries...



    Taken from Sec 149(1)(a) of the Highway Traffic Act:

    No vehicle shall be driven or operated to the left of the centre of a roadway designed for one or more lines of traffic in each direction,

    (a) when approaching the crest of a grade or upon a curve in the roadway or within 30 metres of a bridge, viaduct or tunnel where the driverís view is obstructed within that distance so as to create a potential hazard in the event another vehicle might approach from the opposite direction;



    There is no specific offence for crossing a solid line. The lines are used as a guide, but to be fair, they usually indicate boundaries for the above mentioned items (where it would be illegal).

    For example, there is no charge of "cross solid line".....

    Hope this helps!

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    Answers the question, thank you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by igotafrigginjeep View Post
    Answers the question, thank you!
    For you....... anytime!

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