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Behind The Wheel

Changing lanes and merging traffic

Would you write something in one of your articles about people turning at intersections and immediately going into the right lane and cutting off other motorists merging into traffic? This is one of my biggest pet peeves in the traffic world. I have seen and experienced where the person who is merging is getting the horn and finger wave even though they were in the right.

Actually, after considering the situation that you are describing I would contend that both of the drivers that you describe could behave more responsibly. The answer does depend on whether the merging motorist has an acceleration lane to use or is facing a yield sign when they turn right at the intersection. Let's examine both situations.

If there is an acceleration lane, both the driver that had turned left and the merging driver have an equal duty to change lanes safely and must not affect the travel of another vehicle when they do so. In a situation like this I think we should follow the lead of other jurisdictions and mark the division between the through lanes with a solid white on the left and a broken white line on the right. This would prevent the traffic in the fast lane from moving right and making it more difficult for the merging driver.

When there is a yield sign, our right turn driver must yield the right of way to all other traffic. This means the traffic in the fast lane as much as it means the traffic in the slow lane. While our fast lane driver still must not change lanes unless it is safe, he has more right to change lanes than our driver facing the yield sign has to proceed in a case like this.

The author is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit www.drivesmartbc.ca.



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About the author...

Tim Schewe has been writing his column for most of the 20 years in his traffic enforcement service in the RCMP. It was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and now Castanet.net. Schewe retired from the Force in January of 2006, but the column became a habit and continues.

E-mail him your questions or concerns: [email protected]
 




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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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