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Unprotected Left Turns vs. Oncoming Right Turn

TechBoyTechBoy Registered User
edited December 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
So I have no idea how to google this, but I was wondering who has the right of way in such a situation:

intersectiondiagram1.png

Essentially you have people people at the top making an unprotected left turn (from their perspective).

You also have people at the bottom looking at a green light and wanting to make a right turn.

Both lights are green, assume there's no traffic going straight.

In a perfect world, the left turners would take the top lane, the right turners would take the bottom lane, and everyone could then turn at the same time and we all get places faster.

But clearly the world is less than perfect so who has the right of way in such a situation? I'm curious mainly about CA because that's where I am, but I'm interested in all states if they have different rules.

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Posts

  • AurinAurin Registered User
    edited December 2009
    The person that is turning right has the right of way. Even if they have a blinker on, they could change their mind and go straight, or just be a moron that's had his blinker on for the last 30 minutes.

    Never trust other drivers. @_@ The only time you've got the right of way making a left is with an arrow.

  • GdiguyGdiguy San Diego, CARegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I believe (thought it's been a few years since I moved to CA and re-took the test) that the person turning right has the right of way, and the person turning left legally has to wait until it's safe (i.e., there is no-one in any oncoming lane)

    The first example here: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/hdbk/turns.htm#turnexamples seems to support this, as there's no legal requirement to complete a turn into the extreme right or left lane

  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Oddly, in many left lane driving countries, the person making the right turn (in this case, the equivalent of the person making the left turn) has the right of way. I wonder why it's different.

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  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    And it matters not where the right-turner decides to go. He could take the far lane if he wanted to, and he would still be in the right.

    And no, in a perfect world, people would know how to drive and would yield to traffic. Never assume someone is going to do something or be somewhere when you are driving.

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  • ecco the dolphinecco the dolphin Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Heartlash wrote: »
    Oddly, in many left lane driving countries, the person making the right turn (in this case, the equivalent of the person making the left turn) has the right of way. I wonder why it's different.

    Actually, if I'm deciphering your pronouns correctly, only one left lane driving country has the rule where the car crossing the center line has right of way over the car turning without crossing the center line.

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  • TomantaTomanta Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Figgy wrote: »
    And it matters not where the right-turner decides to go. He could take the far lane if he wanted to, and he would still be in the right.

    This is not necessarily true, legally. Unless it has changed since I took driver's ed (which was a long time ago) at least here in Texas you are supposed to turn into the closest lane. I even had a friend in high school pulled over for not doing so.

    Although practically, this is true and in no way should someone assume they know what another driver is going to do until they do it.

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  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Person at the top is crossing the lane of the person on the bottom, ergo the person on the bottom as right of way.

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    In the situation diagrammed, there's actually no right of way conflict; both turners are supposed to turn into the near lane. If one of them crossed the near lane and into the path of the other car, they would be in the wrong.

    If there's only one lane, I believe the right turner is supposed to yield (in the U.S., anyway.)

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  • UnderdogUnderdog Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Dyscord wrote: »
    In the situation diagrammed, there's actually no right of way conflict; both turners are supposed to turn into the near lane. If one of them crossed the near lane and into the path of the other car, they would be in the wrong.

    If there's only one lane, I believe the right turner is supposed to yield (in the U.S., anyway.)

    I thought for safety the left turner was supposed to wait for the right turner to finish. Like others have said, even if the right turner has their blinker on, they don't have to make the turn. It's a douchey thing to do but that alone isn't enough of a defence if the lefty assumes he's clear to go and the righty decides at the last moment to just go straight, causing a traffic accident.

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  • SporkedSporked Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    The car turning right has the right of way over the car turning left, provided both have green lights. That's pretty standard across the US, and unless there's signage/road markings/local statutes CLEARLY stating which lane the right turning vehicle HAS to end up in, the left turning vehicle would likely be found at fault.

    Vehicles turning left have to yield to oncoming traffic, and a traffic judge isn't going to care whether the oncoming car was turning, going straight or doing wheelies. Basically, the person turning left is going to be pretty screwed.

  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I might be wrong about the rule when two cars are turning into a single lane, but I'm nearly positive cars must turn into the near lane if there's other traffic

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  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Dyscord wrote: »
    I might be wrong about the rule when two cars are turning into a single lane, but I'm nearly positive cars must turn into the near lane if there's other traffic

    They should, but again, don't count on it. That's actually one of my pet peeves with drivers - nobody knows how to do this.

    If the Left Turner just blindly went, and crashed into the Right Turner, technically Right is at fault, but since Left is supposed to yield, Left would likely be cited as the cause.

    edit: Think of a pedestrian example: a person crossing should wait for the OK signal, but if a car hits them, car will be at fault because they must yield to peds.

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    MichaelLC wrote: »
    Dyscord wrote: »
    I might be wrong about the rule when two cars are turning into a single lane, but I'm nearly positive cars must turn into the near lane if there's other traffic

    They should, but again, don't count on it. That's actually one of my pet peeves with drivers - nobody knows how to do this.

    If the Left Turner just blindly went, and crashed into the Right Turner, technically Right is at fault, but since Left is supposed to yield, Left would likely be cited as the cause.

    edit: Think of a pedestrian example: a person crossing should wait for the OK signal, but if a car hits them, car will be at fault because they must yield to peds.

    Either one has the right of way or the other one does.

    I mean obviously you can't just tbone someone and then claim you had the right of way, but that doesn't really change anything.

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  • RaekreuRaekreu Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Aurin wrote: »
    The person that is turning right has the right of way. Even if they have a blinker on, they could change their mind and go straight, or just be a moron that's had his blinker on for the last 30 minutes.

    Never trust other drivers. @_@ The only time you've got the right of way making a left is with an arrow.

    ^This sounds correct to me. I always assume 2 things in situations like this - 1, the person making the right turn has right of way and 2, everyone else on the road is a dangerous moron with better insurance coverage than I've got.

    These assumptions have served me well thus far.

  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Raekreu wrote: »
    Aurin wrote: »
    The person that is turning right has the right of way. Even if they have a blinker on, they could change their mind and go straight, or just be a moron that's had his blinker on for the last 30 minutes.

    Never trust other drivers. @_@ The only time you've got the right of way making a left is with an arrow.

    ^This sounds correct to me. I always assume 2 things in situations like this - 1, the person making the right turn has right of way and 2, everyone else on the road is a dangerous moron with better insurance coverage than I've got.

    These assumptions have served me well thus far.

    Wouldn't less/no insurance than you would be more scary?

    Anyway, here's from the Illinois rule book:
    "[Cars must yield] to oncoming traffic when making a left-hand turn. If you enter an intersection while the light is green, you may finish your turn even though the light turns red."

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  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited December 2009
    Dyscord wrote: »
    In the situation diagrammed, there's actually no right of way conflict; both turners are supposed to turn into the near lane. If one of them crossed the near lane and into the path of the other car, they would be in the wrong.

    If there's only one lane, I believe the right turner is supposed to yield (in the U.S., anyway.)

    This, but it's "yield to the right" at a four-way here, and we drive on the left.

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  • DirtmuncherDirtmuncher Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    In the netherlands we have the rule: short turn before long turn.
    So the driver turning right has the right of way (in our country).

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  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    MichaelLC wrote: »
    Raekreu wrote: »
    Aurin wrote: »
    The person that is turning right has the right of way. Even if they have a blinker on, they could change their mind and go straight, or just be a moron that's had his blinker on for the last 30 minutes.

    Never trust other drivers. @_@ The only time you've got the right of way making a left is with an arrow.

    ^This sounds correct to me. I always assume 2 things in situations like this - 1, the person making the right turn has right of way and 2, everyone else on the road is a dangerous moron with better insurance coverage than I've got.

    These assumptions have served me well thus far.

    Wouldn't less/no insurance than you would be more scary?

    Anyway, here's from the Illinois rule book:
    "[Cars must yield] to oncoming traffic when making a left-hand turn. If you enter an intersection while the light is green, you may finish your turn even though the light turns red."

    This is pretty much it. The only time the left turn has the right of way it when only the left turn has a green arrow and everyone else is red. You pretty much are low man on the totem pole when you're making a left. Again, it doesn't matter what the right turn car does (turn/go straight) you're not supposed to go for the left hand turn until they are clear anyway.

  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Austin, TXRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Person at the top is crossing the lane of the person on the bottom, ergo the person on the bottom as right of way.

    This.

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  • BelruelBelruel naw Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Tomanta wrote: »
    Figgy wrote: »
    And it matters not where the right-turner decides to go. He could take the far lane if he wanted to, and he would still be in the right.

    This is not necessarily true, legally. Unless it has changed since I took driver's ed (which was a long time ago) at least here in Texas you are supposed to turn into the closest lane. I even had a friend in high school pulled over for not doing so.

    Although practically, this is true and in no way should someone assume they know what another driver is going to do until they do it.

    yeah i was going to say, when i got my license (3 years ago) you are only legally allowed to turn into the closest lane, turning into the far lane is illegal and can get you a ticket.

    as for the OP's question, i am not sure who has the right legally, but i have always seen the person making the right hand turn having the right of way. as a person making a left turn of any kind you must be careful, so generally that just leads to letting everyone else have the right of way for your own safety.

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  • GothicLargoGothicLargo Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    In the netherlands we have the rule: short turn before long turn.
    So the driver turning right has the right of way (in our country).

    Yes, but can short turn go during red?

    In America a protected right (or a left onto a one-way) is legal during a red light as long as there isn't a sign prohibiting it.


    Interesting fact: UPS has spent millions to develop route planning software that eliminates left turns from their delivery routes. Their delivery trucks turn right 90% of the time while performing their runs. This ultimately cuts their fuel use substantially.

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  • The Black HunterThe Black Hunter Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    A left only lane given a specific green light to turn and that bottom traffic light going green as well would never even occur in my country, whoever designed that should have been shot

    have a splinter lane for those who turn right at the bottom, and they give way to the top cars.

    uuugggghhhhh it makes the ergonomic side of me squirm

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  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Austin, TXRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    A left only lane given a specific green light to turn and that bottom traffic light going green as well would never even occur in my country, whoever designed that should have been shot

    have a splinter lane for those who turn right at the bottom, and they give way to the top cars.

    uuugggghhhhh it makes the ergonomic side of me squirm

    Most lights for left hand turns have a sign that says something to the effect of "Left Turn Yield on Green", unless they have a green arrow. At least in Texas.

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  • mfroggmfrogg Registered User
    edited December 2009
    The word Unprotected was used for a reason. The short has the right of way in this situation. If the top had an arrow, then the short would have a red light, and thus, should yield to left. However, your situation shows the top does not have an arrow, and the short has a green. Short has the right.

    Do note, though, that if the left turn jumps the gun and makes it to the turn before the right, and the right smacks into him, a good lawyer for left turn will point out Failure to Maintain a Proper lookout against the right turn. If the lawyer is decent arguer, the jury will side with them.

    And last, this is why it's no longer referred to as an Accident, but a motor vehicle collision. In any collision, all parties share fault for the mere fact they were there. It sucks, but that's the state of the legal system for insurance companies. They've built themselves horrible holes to use against each other and lay-men.

    tldr; This situation, right turn is right-of-way; but insurance people can still turn the tables.

  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Tomanta wrote: »
    Figgy wrote: »
    And it matters not where the right-turner decides to go. He could take the far lane if he wanted to, and he would still be in the right.

    This is not necessarily true, legally. Unless it has changed since I took driver's ed (which was a long time ago) at least here in Texas you are supposed to turn into the closest lane. I even had a friend in high school pulled over for not doing so.

    Although practically, this is true and in no way should someone assume they know what another driver is going to do until they do it.

    But he would still have the right of way in the event of a collision with a driver who was coming from the other end of the intersection.

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  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    The guy making the right turn has the right of way, period. The guy making the left hand turn must yield to all on-coming traffic and crossing pedestrians as well.

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  • PhistiPhisti Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Guy turning right has the right of way, but he must turn into the nearest lane or can be cited as changing lanes in an intersection. (Illegal - Canada)

  • jefe414jefe414 The wall the darkness breaks against Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Well I pulled this out of the Connecticut drivers manual:
    When
    making turns, go from one lane to the other as directly as possible without crossing lane lines or interfering with traffic. Once you have completed your turn and once it is safe to do so, you can change to another lane if you need to.

    Interestingly enough, the manual only states this for right-of-way when turning left:
    Drivers turning left must yield to oncoming vehicles going straight.

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  • defreakdefreak Registered User regular
    Phisti wrote:
    Guy turning right has the right of way, but he must turn into the nearest lane or can be cited as changing lanes in an intersection. (Illegal - Canada)

    Changing lanes in an intersection is legal in most US states, and in Canada it seems (I haven't found anything that says otherwise), however, you could still get cited for "unsafe driving" if the police decides the lane change was unsafe.

  • MidshipmanMidshipman Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    Wow. I can't believe I stumbled into this necro.
    Spoiler:

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This discussion has been closed.