Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Weekly Tip: Two-Way Left Turn Lanes

The two-way or center left turn lane is often misunderstood. California Vehicle Code defines the two-way left turn lane and allows entry into the lane for only two purposes; preparing for and making a left turn or entering traffic. Travel in this lane is restricted to 200 feet.

This IS NOT a passing lane. It is not uncommon to find drivers using the two-way left turn lane on El Monte Avenue for passing stopped traffic waiting in line at stop signs. This is a violation and will be cited. It is also illegal to use this style lane for passing slower traffic.

In order to make a lawful left turn, you must enter this middle lane and then complete the turn. Making a left or u-turn turn across the middle lane from through traffic would be considered an improper turning movement.

Crossing the middle lane and entering the through traffic is acceptable when entering the roadway from an intersecting driveway, alley or property. It would be allowable to enter the middle lane and wait for traffic to clear in order to safely enter the flow of through traffic as well. 


  1. On Duarte toward east at Santa Anita ave, often the line waiting at red light is very long. Is it legal to drive on the middle lane to reach the left turn lane?

    1. To pass vehicles already stopped in the #1 lane, yes it is illegal. However, if the stopped traffic in the left turn lane is backed up even or beyond the #1 lane traffic, you may enter the center lane to wait in line for the left turn signal. ^TL

  2. How about making a u-turn from the center lane? Is that legal?

  3. If you are in a business district, the u-turn must be at an intersection, from the middle or turn lane, unless prohibited by sign. It is ok to make a u-turn in a residential district from the center lane, but can be illegal if w/in 200 ft of an intersection since your view is going to be obstructed, such as near Duarte Rd. on El Monte Ave. ^TL