Rules around merging when turning right

The answer does depend on whether the merging motorist has an acceleration lane to use or is facing a yield sign...

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 motorist merging into traffic?

This is one of my biggest pet peeves in the traffic world. I have seen and experienced where a 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.

For more information on this topic, visit www.drivesmartbc.ca. Questions or comments are welcome by e-mail to comments@drivesmartbc.ca. Tim Schewe is a retired RCMP constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. His column appears Friday.

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