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Two-Way Left Turn Only Signs

Two-Way Left Turn Only Signs

Confusing Arrows

Every day several visitors on this site are confused by the two-way left turn signs or the pavement marking in a center turn lane.

They think that the arrows indicate both left and right turns.

They don’t.

The arrows indicate left turns from both directions. This should be very clear if you stop and think of how the arrows are drawn.

It should also be clear that there is no reason for you to enter a center lane when making a right turn.

What the Signs Tell You

The signs are used where a center lane is reserved for the exclusive use of left-turning vehicles in either direction and is not used for passing, overtaking, or through travel.

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13 Comments

  1. the sign is clear and easy to apply practically when we used the road
    thanks

  2. Actually the two signs are easy and very simple to understand. You just have to pay great attention on them.

  3. EXCELLENT explanation sent to me via e-mail by your company. I can now understand what is so obvious. Again, thanks for the quick response. I do appreciate it.

  4. I think it’s clear (once you read the sign-definition in the article) what the author of the sign is conveying. As a driver, you are only going to be driving straight. I’ve driven around this country many times and never seen a sign that dictates my options while driving in reverse. So if you are approaching a sign, and going straight, and you see two arrows like the sign pictured above, the only arrow that represents YOU is going FORWARD. Therefore, the forward arrow (you) can move left, and the reverse arrow (opposing traffic) can only move LEFT as well. Because from their perspective, the arrow that appears to be moving right appears to them as a left turn. I understand that opposing traffic will not see the exact sign in front of you, but you have to be smart enough to know that the arrow going FORWARD is YOU. You are not driving backwards, nor do you see signs on the road that are backwards, therefore YOU can go LEFT and opposing traffic can go LEFT from their PERSPECTIVE.

  5. Don’t even understand how this is an issue. You simple learn what signs stand for.

  6. Two-Way Left Turn Only Signs indicate a special center lane with left turn movements from both directions (shown by the arrows).

    A left turn lane sign or a mandatory movement lane control signs (R3-5) indicate a totally different lane with left turns in only one direction. It would certainly be a lot more unsafe and confusing not to have signs that distinguish between these two types of lanes.

    Roads signs in United States are approved by the Federal Highway Administrator as the National Standard and are common throughout the country. They are not made up on a whim or by a single person.

    I think the signs are perfectly clear and I don’t think they constitute any danger in traffic. If that was the case, I am pretty sure they would have been modified by now.

    In fact, where two-way left turn lanes have been introduced on two-lane roads, the lanes have had a positive impact on the safety with significantly less traffic crashes. Meaning, an overwhelming majority of drivers have no problem with the two-way left turn lane.

    Instead, the issue is a common mistake done on the practice tests. The fact that the signs cause some confusion on these tests is simple lack of knowledge, lack of common sense, or just not taking enough time to examine the question.

    To me, it is a mistake done on the tests, not in real life.

    In traffic, I hardly think anyone would even think of making a right turn from such a lane. You simple don’t move to the center of the road when you want to make a right turn.

  7. The sign showing one left arrow facing oncoming traffic already exist, Ivory. And it has different meaning. Did you even try to learn all the traffic signs?

    • YES, I DID STUDY MY SIGNS. THESE 2 SIGNS WERE NOT IN THE LATEST BOOK AT DMV. YES, I TAKE MY EDUCATION AND DRIVING VERY SERIOUSLY! HOWEVER, WHEN SOMETHING IS THIS UNCLEAR TO SO MANY THEN THE ORIGINATOR OF THE SIGN IS IN ERROR HIMSELF. WHEN SOMETHING NEEDS CORRECTING AND MAY SAVE SOME LIVES, I THINK IT BARES LOOKING INTO AND SHOULD BE CHANGED. THE SIGN THAT SAYS LEFT TURN ONLY WOULD BE QUITE APPROPRIATE HERE. IF I AM FACING IT I KNOW I CAN TURN LEFT ONLY. THE POINT IS THIS IS A CONFUSING SIGN AND THEREFORE INAPPROPRIATE.

      • I totally agree with you. The sign maker should come up with something simpler and easier to make sense of.

      • Trust me, if there was a better sign, it would have been implemented by now. This sign makes perfect sense to anyone who learned to “read” traffic signs. Which is what it all boils down to. You must just learn what traffic signs mean. Simple as that.

  8. I have trouble understanding Chinese signs. Doesn’t mean that they are wrong.

  9. THE PURPOSE OF A SIGN IS TO GIVE DIRECTION, NOT TO PROVIDE CONFUSION. IF THAT MANY PEOPLE INCLUDING ME FOUND IT TO SAY TURN LEFT OR RIGHT THEN, THIS SIGN SHOULD BE DELETED AND REPLACED WITH 2 SIGNS EACH SHOWING ONLY 1 LEFT ARROW BUT FACING THE ON COMING TRAFFIC.

    SINCE THIS SIGN APPEARS WITHOUT THE WORDS CENTER LANE, THERE IS NO WAY TO TELL WHAT THIS MEANS.

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