How many times have you been driving on a roadway that has a center two-way left turn lane, only to have a vehicle merge into the center two-way left turn lane and then turn right out of that lane in front of you? Or how about the driver that insists on driving in that center lane to pass through an intersection or pass / overtake traffic stopped in the through lanes? If it startled you, caused you to take evasive action to avoid a crash or made you wonder what the meaning of a two-way left turn lane is, you are not alone!
In the Texas Department of Public Safety Student Driver’s Handbook it states the following, "Left Turn Lane Only - The only time a vehicle should enter the center lane is at a point where the vehicle will have time to slow down or stop in order to make a safe left turn maneuver. Special Note: The center lane should never be used for passing or as a through-traffic lane".
Many motorists use this center lane as a ‘merge’ lane or just plain ignore the ‘turn’ signs and drive in the lane. There are traffic laws specific to these types of violations, and for good reason. Any vehicle action taken outside of what the lane is designated for can cause a collision. Motorists who are traveling in the thru lanes on either side of the center two-way left turn lane have the expectation (rightfully) that no vehicles will turn right out of the lane.
State and municipal traffic engineers designate roadways that have need of two-way left-turn lanes. A two-way left-turn lane is a lane near the center of the roadway, set aside for the use by vehicles making left turns in both directions from the roadway. Two-way left-turn lanes are designated by distinctive roadway markings consisting of parallel double yellow lines. The interior line is dashed and the exterior line is solid on each side of the lane. Left turn arrows are painted on the pavement inside the lane and at times are indicated by signage.
A violation within the city limits of Kerrville for the “Improper Use of Left Turn Lane” – Texas Transportation code 545.060, carries a $200 fine and court cost through the Kerrville Municipal Court.
Police Officers will be monitoring the center two-way left turn lanes throughout Kerrville, targeting violators in an effort to prevent traffic collisions.