In only the past seven days, I've almost been in three vehicle accidents. Two of these happened on the same day while on my way home from work. Was it because I'm a horrible, reckless driver? No. All I was doing was merging into turning lanes, but as I did, other drivers were barreling towards the light because they didn't want to wait until it was the proper time to do so. This has to stop.

Each time this happened to me I was almost rear-ended or almost turned into a speeding vehicle. In all three cases the other drivers had hopped into the turning lanes about two blocks too soon. This, coupled with the fact they were also still doing about 40mph makes for an extremely dangerous situation.

Only a couple of weeks ago, an ex-coworker and friend, Brad Wedlock, tragically lost his life in this sort of situation. And for what? Because someone was reckless and impatient. I realize we all get into situations when we're in a rush, and even emergency situations. But to put your life and the lives of others carelessly in danger is inexcusable.

I'm not trying to tell you I'm the best driver on the road, but I am cautious.

So, what are the rules when it comes to using turning lanes?

From driving-tests.org -

The solid yellow center-line means you cannot use the center lane for passing. The broken yellow center-lines show that vehicles traveling in either direction may use the center lane only to make left turns. Louisiana law prohibits traveling in this lane for more than 200 feet.
Do not move into the lane too soon. The longer you stay in the lane, the more likely you will meet someone coming in the opposite direction.

 

The information above refers to single, dedicated turning lanes and shared turning lanes. It's against the law to travel in the turning lane for more than 200 feet, or roughly about 66 yards.

200 feet seems like it's pretty far, but consider speed and 200 feet can zip by pretty quick.

Be considerate of other drivers, even if they aren't, and please stay safe.