Driver's Prep - Free DMV tests

Two-Way Left Turn Only Signs

Common two-way left turn lane signs - Driver's Prep

Confusing Arrows on Two-Way Left Turn Only Signs

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

They think that the arrows show both left and right turns. They don’t.

What the Arrows Mean

The arrows start from two different directions (top and bottom). The indicate that you may travel from both directions in this lane. Both arrows are curved to the left when you follow them from either direction.

They show that you must turn left from this lane and that vehicles from the opposite direction must also turn left.

When you see turn arrows painted on the pavement or when they appear on road signs, you must always obey them. If they curve to the left or right, or point straight, you can’t go in any other direction from that lane.

Remember, the curved arrow pointing towards you in a two-way left turn lane directs traffic from opposite direction.

Don’t Make Right Turns from This Lane

The lane must not be used for right turns.

When you wish to turn right, you must keep close to right-hand road side or right-hand curb. You should signal well ahead of the turn, slow down, and turn when safe. Don’t enter the center lane and wait for traffic to clear.

If a driver ahead of you is slowing down to make a right turn, stay behind. The two-way left turn lane cannot be used for passing or overtaking the other vehicle.

Don’t Enter a Two-Way Left Turn Lane too Soon

Enter a two-way left turn lane to prepare for a left turn, but don’t enter too soon.

If you enter a two-way left turn too soon, you may obstruct vehicles coming from the other direction. Many states have laws that specify how far you can travel in this lane to prepare for a left turn. Unless state laws say otherwise, a rule of thumb is to never go further than 150 feet in this lane.

The lane should never be used for passing, overtaking, or through travel.

Turning Left from a Side Road

In most states, the lane can also be used when turning left from a side road. Enter the lane and wait until traffic clears. Don’t use the lane to get up to speed with traffic. Remember that the lane can be used by traffic from both directions. Any time you use the lane for any other purpose than what is designated for, you can cause a collision.

Pavement Markings

A two-way left turn lane is marked with a normal broken yellow line and a normal solid yellow line on each side on the lane. It is also marked with white two-way left-turn lane-use arrows. Read more about pavement markings here.

Two-way left-turn lane

Summary: 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.



Illustrations: Xzelenz Media

About Mark
Problem solver. Entrepreneur. Music nerd. Traveler. Twitter: @markheart0 Facebook: Mark Heart

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.

1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Pavement Markings and What They Mean | Driversprep.com

Leave a Reply