One of the most basic aspects of operating a motor vehicle is adherence to proper lane discipline. The painted lines on the road are not mere suggestions, but offer guidance and proper segregation of vehicles to allow for smooth traffic flow. Hopefully you haven’t forgotten those fundamentals when you took your driving test so many years ago, because you could be a dying breed.
In congested cities, gridlock traffic, pedestrians, stop lights, motorcycles, and even bicycles are the norm. What’s also normal is the number of multiple lane intersections that offer left, right, and straight directions for vehicles on the road. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that many lanes that lead up to busy intersections have arrows that let you know what direction you are limited to travelling from that lane. Unfortunately, even with guidance and lane markings, many drivers still forget the most basic rule for making turns at intersections.
What is this rule? Simple really; the lane you start turning from is the same lane you end your turn in. You should never change lanes while making the turning maneuver, and you should not change lanes in the middle of the intersection. It messes with the flow, slows people down, and you can cause an accident with multiple cars. Not cool, right?
When you are turning at an intersection the rule is to drive to the corresponding lane on the road you are turning into, unless directed differently by an arrow on the road or a sign. If you are turning onto a main road from a side street, always make sure to stay in the inner lane (lane closest to you on the right or left) while doing the maneuver. If you have to move over, make sure you are clear of vehicles and past the intersection. Minimize having to change lanes after making your turn by choosing a lane early and staying in the lane that corresponds with the end destination in mind. For example, if you need to use to the right lane of the road you’re turning into, already start at the rightmost lane of the two turn lanes at that intersection.
Some roads even have guiding broken lines in the middle of the intersection to help you stay in the proper lane while turning with other cars, so it pays to keep an eye out for those. Be wary of long vehicles when turning as they might need to cut the corner to get around when turning from the outside lane, or the front of their vehicle could enter into the left lane if they are in the right lane. Just give them space to complete their maneuver. Oh, and always remember to have your indicator on when sitting at an intersection, regardless of the turn lane you are in.
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