Center Left Turn Lanes explained
A center turn lane removes left turning vehicles from the through lanes and allows vehicles to wait in the center lane until a safe gap in oncoming traffic is available before turning left.
- Center turn lanes can lead to a reduction in rear-end collisions by removing stopped or slow left-turning vehicles from the through lanes.
- Drivers in the center lane may feel more comfortable waiting for an adequate gap in traffic before turning left, as they are protected from through vehicles, which can lead to a reduction in sideswipe collisions.
- Center turn lanes also provide spatial separation between opposing lanes of traffic, which can lead to a reduction in head-on collisions.
- Delay to through vehicles may also be reduced because left-turning vehicles will not block the through lanes.
Using Center Left Turn Lanes
Drivers may not travel in a center turning lane. Never use the center left turn lane as an ordinary traffic lane or for passing other vehicles. Center left turn lanes should only be used when:
- Making a left turn or a U-turn from the roadway when permitted.
- Making a left turn from a side street or driveway.
If you need to make a left turn where there is a center left turn lane:
- Plan for the turn. Do not turn suddenly.
- Signal your turn at least 100 feet before making the turn. On a highway, signal at least 500 feet before a turn. It is best to signal before you apply your brakes, so you make your intentions known to other drivers.
- Reduce your speed.
- Check your mirrors for traffic behind you and check the blind spot on your turning side.
- Watch out for oncoming vehicles that may be using the center left turn lane.
- When it is safe and the center turn lane is clear, enter the center turn lane.
- Make sure no part of your vehicle is blocking through traffic.
- Wait in the center left turn lane until it is safe to turn left across the oncoming traffic lane.
If you are making a left turn from a side street or driveway:
- Turn on your left turn signal.
- Look to your left for traffic and look ahead to check that the center turn lane is also clear.
- When traffic is clear from your left side and the center turn lane, turn left and enter the center left-turn lane.
- Wait for traffic to clear on your right before entering the regular traffic lane.
Boston, MA 02116