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Center Left Turn Lanes - Route 28 Reading Resurfacing and Road Diet

Some two-way roads have a center turn lane that can be used for left turns by vehicles traveling in both directions.
an illustration of a center turn lane street sign with the text “Center Lane” at the top of the sign and left turn arrows above the word “only” at the bottom of the sign is next to a graphic showing a roadway with one lane in each direction and a two-way left turn lane in the center with arrows illustrating left turn movements from the center lane and the words “Left Turn Only”

Center Lane sign & diagram

Table of Contents

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:

  1. Plan for the turn. Do not turn suddenly.
  2. 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.
  3. Reduce your speed.
  4. Check your mirrors for traffic behind you and check the blind spot on your turning side.
  5. Watch out for oncoming vehicles that may be using the center left turn lane.
  6. When it is safe and the center turn lane is clear, enter the center turn lane.
  7. Make sure no part of your vehicle is blocking through traffic.
  8. 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:

  1. Turn on your left turn signal.
  2. Look to your left for traffic and look ahead to check that the center turn lane is also clear.
  3. When traffic is clear from your left side and the center turn lane, turn left and enter the center left-turn lane.
  4. Wait for traffic to clear on your right before entering the regular traffic lane.

Additional Resources



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Boston, MA 02116