Concerning the left turn lane

OK, this is just a humble, work-a-day, traffic rant, but it’s been pissing me off since I moved here three years ago and you’d think that people would have evolved, even slightly, in the intervening time to behave in a slightly less than shit-for-brains manner than a common, vole-sucking peckerhead.

There’s an intersection a quarter mile from my house, Mass Ave and Rt 16 to be exact. Each road entering the intersection has three clearly marked lanes; left for turning (wait for it) left, middle for going straight, and right for going straight or turning right. Pretty simple, huh? Not really rocket science for the motor going public, one would think.

Well, for reasons that still elude my grasp, going from Arlington to Cambridge across Rt 16 seems to scamble the neurochemicals in many people’s brains, causing them to imaging they are in some sort of Daliesque dream sequence where there’s no such thing as straight lines, merging traffic, of the fucking common sense God gave to Golden Retrievers so they don’t end up choking themselves on their leashes every day in an attempt to bark at their own parasites.

You see, here I am, sitting quietly in the lefthand turn lane trying to find a radiostation that isn’t playing the same warmed over 1970’s top ten hits while claiming they play “Classic Rock” waiting the approximately 11 minutes for the left turn arrow to arrive. Hey, there are lots of combinations of traffic here, so I can deal with the wait. Finally, the green arrow of my salvation has arrived! Hallelujah! The line moves forward, one car, two cars, then inexplicably, it stops. Is an ambulance coming? Perhaps a wounded sparrow in the roadway? Alas no, it’s the dumbass in front of me who thought he would jump into the left turn lane and avoid all the cars (silly fools) waiting their turns in the two, count 'em, two other lanes designated for going straight.

Naturally, I am displeased. Another 11 minute wait is not high on my list of activities for the morning. I gently inform the glob of plaque in the arteries of America’s transportation system that he has performed a faux-pas by tootling on my horn and using familiar hand guestures. He pulls forward 6 inches, hoping that this will appease my wrath, and eagerly awaits the light change. Via more assertive signals I attempt to convey the message that, no, this is not a satisfactory solution, and I am considering one that involves two fellows named Guido, a soldering iron, and one GI Joe action figure with the Kung Fu Grip ™.

Apparently this penetrates his posterior, reaching his head, which is convienently stored there. Does he decide to turn left and perhaps take another route to his destination? Or turn into the gas station across the way and take some time to review the Mass Driving Regulations? No, he squirts forward into the intersection, as unwanted and unloved as writhing sperm on a prom dress, thus sharing my annoyence with dozens more people and potentially causing a head on collision with that turning delivery truck.

I make my left turn, seeth a bit, and continue on my way, safe in the knowledge that at least one quarter of the time that I need to make that turn, another fucknut with no concept of how close he comes to being gutted like a mackeral and left for the seagulls in the Fresh Pond Mall.

Ah, Boston drivers. Life is good.

This kind of thing is why I don’t keep my gun in my car.

I don’t have the self-control.

Applause, applause! Well worded, nicely vitriolic with some excellently evocative turns of phrase…

And you can dance to it…

Well done! Carry on… :wink:

This is a huge pet peeve of mine as well. If for whatever reason, be it deliberate or accidental, you are in a turn-only lane, you’d damned well better turn when that light turns green. If you’re there by accident, then turn and go around the fucking block. Don’t hold up all of the traffic behind you because of your idiotic incapability of reading the 9 bazillion signs designating that lane as turn-only.


You have inspired me to start a new thread about bad Boston intersections.

Join me there!

I agree 100%. Just this last Sunday (April 7th), I saw I woman doing this in a left-turn only lane. The light turned green and she didn’t move much. I could she her looking over her right shoulder to the traffic coming up behind her. I said to my wife “That’s an accident waiting to happen.” About 5 seconds later, she tried to go straight right into a car turning left from the other lane (which was legal). Just today (about 9am) I was called by the insurance company to make a statement about the accident.

I live by this rule and, thanks to my poor sense of direction, excercise it on a regular basis much to the dismay of some my more impatient friends.

Me: “Ah crap, I didn’t mean to get in this lane.”

Friend: “Quick, pull out of the lane!”

Me: “Nope, we is in the left turn lane now, we is turning left!”

The result may seem like wasted time, but I get to my destination much quicker than I would if I got hit by some innocent passerby because I suddenly dashed into their lane.

But now I’d like to take a quick note to address the fool fuck of a driver who honked at me when I failed to turn right at a red light. See, it works like this sheep licker. Those folks going across the road there have a green light. That means they have the right of way. I don’t give a rat’s ass if you think I should have been able to pull out in front of that truck that was 30 feet away and heading towards us at 50 mph. I drive a Sunfire and I do not argue with tractor trailers. Those things do not come to a stop quickly assmunch and swerving around the flaming wreckage of my car would have taken you just as long as it took for the truck to pass safely by anyway. You may have chosen a destiny to be a road pizza feast for crows but I intend to live a long time.

Another tactic used at this particular location is for someone in the middle lane to jump into the left turn lane as soon a the turning traffic clears, thus allowing him (yes him, is it surprising that it’s usually a him?) to jump in front of the four cars ahead and execute the stoplight dragrace enforced merge since there’s no lane directly opposite the left turn lane.

And of course, I’m usually just arriving at the intersection in time to be stopped by this fecal pellet from making my left turn. “How” he asks himself, “could anyone else arrive at the intersection wanting to make a left turn when the first batch of 3 cars has already gone through?” Fortunately the arrow turns yellow (which means nothing in Massachusetts) then red, and the green light lets him into the intersection just as I’m exiting my car, fully intending to give him a spleenectomy with a gaff hook.

You think this has been bothering me a little? Maybe it’s time to have a nice pot of herbal tea.

Alas, my DH is one of those drivers who believes the entire world ought to yield to his whims. I cringe to say it, but he is one of those guys on the highway who will wait until the very last foot to merge despite numerous orange signs informing him that his lane will be closing in x number of feet. To most people, those signs indicate that we should merge asap. To him, it’s a way of clearing out his lane so he can zip ahead of all the patient drivers.

Why, just the other day, we were driving on the highway and some poor bastard had broken down and was pulled over onto the right shoulder. As we passed I said to hubby, “Honey, did you see that guy? Do you think he realizes he was in your personal lane?!”

I know, I know. Were he not the father of my children and provider of my DSL…

Pure poetry there! :slight_smile:

wish I had such discriptive talents.

Lovely rant, Telemark. We have a new thing in Calgary (I don’t know if “globs in the arteries of North American transportation” are pulling this stunt everywhere) - where there is a single left-turn lane with a straight-through lane beside it, people are stopping in the straight-through lane with their left-turn signal on, and waiting to make a dual left turn.

I’ve seen this two times in the last month or so - the first time, I was barrelling down the road towards the green, and there was a car stopped in front of me with left turn light on! My thought processes; “WTHF has she stopped?!? The light is green!!!” I came to a screeching halt about a foot from her bumper, and she calmly sat there blocking traffic until she could make her EXTREMELY ILLEGAL AND DANGEROUS left turn.

And for some icing on this driving-fiasco cake, my mother (riding shotgun) chastised ME for being an aggressive driver!!! Mom, I love you dearly, but by Calgary standards, I’m about as aggressive as milk. Yelling “Move!” at someone for stopping in the middle of the road on a green light isn’t aggressive - getting out and pulling her through the window and asking her if she got her license at the Sears School of Driving, now THAT’s aggressive.

But since you’ve so kindly done it for me…


If you are the first car in line, and it is safe to do so, you must pull out at least a little ways into the intersection. This is de rigueur. When a suitable opening appears, complete your turn. If a safe opening does not appear, wait until your light turns red, and, as you are obligated to clear the intersection before the cross street traffic can safely advance, complete your turn. NOTE: it is critical that you actually be in the intersection in order to claim clearance priorities! The goal here is to get at least one car through per light (though two or more would be much better)!

Despite your undoubtedly superior wisdom, expertise, and vantage point, you should not honk repeatedly at the person in front of you to encourage them to complete their turn – especially if doing so will cause them to collide with oncoming traffic or result in fatalities in the crosswalk. As it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident, you won’t get to your destination any quicker. If the driver ahead of you fails to make the turn fast enough to suit you, you should not follow them down the street, get in front of them, repeatedly slam on your breaks, and then cut them off when they try to pass you to get away from you – especially when you appear to be a 50 year-old man who ought to know better than to harass someone on the roadways. NOTE: Contrary to popular belief, this rule applies in Beverly Hills as well.

Do not merge into a lane directly in front of someone then immediately slam on your breaks to make a turn from that lane – especially if you could have easily merged behind them.

Not that I am bitter.

That should have read “brakes.” :rolleyes:

Why is left so hard for people? Maybe someone can explain this stunt that’s so common in NYC: Making a (left) U-Turn from the Right lane (or often the right parking lane), AND waiting for it to turn RED first!

You frequently see a car pull all the way to the right hand curb and wait at the green light until it turns red and then pull into the intersection making a U turn.

Damnable bumblefuggers.


I don’t know why they do that, but it ought to be punishable by instant death.