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Behind-the-Wheel

Making a left turn into the correct lane

Proper left turns

A Courtenay resident is upset with drivers that turn left from the Island Highway onto Ryan Road and fail to enter the first available lane.

He identifies this as a problem for drivers travelling in the opposite direction on the highway wanting to turn right onto Ryan Road. Who would be liable he wonders if the right turn vehicle failed to yield as directed by the sign and collided with a vehicle that had made the left turn into the curb lane instead of the lane next to the centre line.

The law on turning at intersections is found in section 165 of the Motor Vehicle Act. It is definite for right turns where you must turn into the right curb lane and left turns onto one way streets where you must turn into the left curb lane.

That said, it appears that the part about turning left onto a two way street hasn't been updated since the days of roads being only two lanes wide. The requirement is to turn and leave the intersection to the right of centre. How far to the right of centre is not specified.

If you are on an ICBC road test and do not turn into the first available lane for your direction of travel (Learn to Drive Smart Page 50) when turning at an intersection you will be marked for making an error. Regardless of vague legislation, this is the practice that a safe driver will always follow.

If you want to be in the right lane after making your left turn, the solution is simple: mirror, signal, shoulder check and change to the right lane when it is safe to do so.

The yield sign requires a driver to yield to all other traffic. This would include vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and drivers making illegal left turns.

When there is no yield sign the rules for yielding to left turn vehicles applies. Many drivers have little or no understanding of what is required of them here so it is a very good example of why right of way is given, never taken.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



More Behind the Wheel articles

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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