Turn-Only Lanes & Etiquette

Original "Grinds My Gears" template. Annoyance level: 1.

Original “Grinds My Gears” template. Annoyance level: 1. Image: FOX.

When first glancing at the title of this post, many of you may be wondering, “What on earth is this girl talking about?” Don’t worry; I’m not off my rocker … yet. It has just recently come to my attention on my daily work commute that many people do not seem to know how to properly use a turn lane. And well, — you guessed it! — that currently grinds my gears.

The turn lane that inspired this post is actually one fairly close to where I live. I have to use this lane every time I drive to work. So why does it bother me? Well, this is a reasonably new turn lane that was added with an expansion of the road. And heaven knows the expansion was thoroughly needed.  While the turn lane has been around for a couple of years now, it has become apparent to me that no one knows where this lane begins.

To clarify, the driving rules in Ohio (as well as many other states,) say while it is “discouraged” to cross a solid white line while driving, it is not illegal to do so. Regardless, it is not a smart idea to cross a solid white line after the lane has began and there are other cars already in that lane. Plus, joining said lane right before reaching the stoplight isn’t necessarily a smart idea either.

You may be wondering why does this bother me so much that people hop on into a lane when it is not (necessarily) illegal to do so? It’s annoying to me, when I, as a driver who abides by the rules, follows the lane from its beginning when others just jump in all willy-nilly — and that could possibly cause an accident among cars. Plus, on top of that, people continue to drive in the straight-only lane until they reach the light. Then, they decide it is time to turn. And don’t get me started on people not using their blinkers to make this turn.

Making a left turn is also grinding my gears as it seems a lot of drivers do not know how to use them properly.

Let’s face it; after driving for a few years, some people get lazy and tend not to follow all the strict rules of the road, right? But when making a left turn and not keeping to your side of those dotted lines? Well, that’s just dangerous. The lines on any road are there for safety reasons and to show drivers a clear definition of what path their vehicle should be on. But here in good ole Cincinnati, drivers seem to forget that regulation.

It bothers me that people cut this path off and end up in another lane while making a left turn. Let me elaborate; I have in mind one specific intersection that, coincidentally, I drive through on my way home from work. There are two left turn lanes that empty into the perpendicular street, allowing for more cars to turn at a time. However, drivers in the right left-turn lane tend to cut the dotted lines and end up in the left left-turn lane. This (sometimes) forces drivers in that left lane to sharply turn — and sometimes end up turning into an opposing lane.

Starting to get the picture? When drivers become lazy and don’t always follow the rules of the road, it creates a dangerous scenario for everyone on the road. While I try my best to stick to what I was taught about turn lanes and their etiquette from driver’s ed, it seems many drivers have become careless. The carelessness of other drivers sticks out to me. I am in no way the most cautious motorist, but I do try not to cause an accident.

I know it is a silly concept to complain about. But when driving the same route day in and day out and noticing that people tend not to be the safest (nor smartest) while using turn lanes in Cincinnati absolutely grinds my gears.  

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