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A common roadway design in commercial areas involving a high volume of traffic includes the use of two lanes of travel going the same direction, then a center lane, then two lanes of travel going the opposite direction. It is the center lane that often causes confusion for motorists, thus leading to car crashes and personal injuries.
The center lane is often referred to as the center turn lane. Often times there are white arrows painted in the center turn lane, which point the driver to the left for left turns. That is the purpose and intent of the center lane; to allow motorists to leave the flow of traffic and enter the center lane where they are not impeding the flow of through traffic behind them. Once in the center turn lane, this lane is to be used for making left turns only. Too often, motorists use the center turn lane to pass stopped traffic. This is an unlawful use of the lane and is dangerous.
Another dangerous and unlawful use of the center turn lane is when motorists use the center turn lane to merge right into traffic. This is demonstrated by when exiting a parking lot and intending to turn left. This maneuver requires the driver to drive across both lanes of travel that are proceeding the same direction, from left to right, then drive across the center turn lane, and finally merging into the inside or left lane of travel to complete the left turn. Drivers who drive across the first two lanes of travel and then turn left into the center lane, to then merge right into the inside lane of the lane of travel to complete the left turn, do so unsafely and illegally.
The center turn lane is not to be used for merging right. Oftentimes car crashes happen in this scenario because the driver attempting to merge right is looking in his rearview mirror or over his right shoulder in order to merge into traffic, thus neglecting to look forward at the traffic turning into the center turn lane to make their left turn.