Why Can’t Drivers in Portland Follow This Simple Rule When Turning?
You may have heard of my frustration with drivers who don't understand how roundabouts work, but recently I've found something even worse than that. A simple rule we all learned in driver's education that people don't seem to remember.
The State of Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles publishes a Maine Motorist Handbook and Study Guide for new drivers which is also available online for anyone that wants to freshen up on the rules of the road, and there are many that should.
A prime example of people not knowing what to do seems to happen to me at least once a week on my commute home when I turn onto Forest Avenue from Preble Street in Portland. Forest Avenue is four lanes of traffic at this intersection, two heading east and two heading west.
As I sit at the light waiting to turn right on green, I'm always aware of the person on the other side of Forest Avenue that is turning left. This particular intersection was recently changed to a "no right on red," but people still make that right turn anyway. That's no big deal.
What is a big deal is when I turn right and the person across from me is turning left, they nearly collide with me when they immediately try to enter the right lane where I am. I've even been honked at a few times when I've done nothing wrong.
Here's the correct way to turn left according to the Maine Motorist Handbook and Study Guide:
Turn into the lane that is closest to the lane from which you came. On a left turn, turn into the leftmost lane going in your direction, whether on a divided highway, 2- way or one-way street. On a right turn, turn into the right lane.
That's pretty simple, but drivers in Portland and I'm sure other cities across Maine seem to have been out of class when that lesson was taught in driver's ed. You want to cross as few lanes as possible when turning to avoid this exact situation. Turning into the right lane when turning left or the left lane when turning right puts everyone in danger.
Be safe on the roads and when turning with two possible lanes, turn into the one closest to you and when traffic is clear make your move to the opposite lane if you need to.
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