Road courtesy maneuver: Naughty but nice

Long ago I learned a bit of road courtesy that’s also not necessarily legal in all jurisdictions. (It is in mine, unless you have/cause an accident as a result, then you get ticketed for “performing an unsafe maneuver”. Or so I was told by a cop acquaintance).

To whit: I’m cruising down a minimally travelled country road (I spend a LOT of time on country roads, my commute route is very very rural). Visibility is ideal in all directions. I need to make a left turn at the next intersection. There’s a car behind me, keeping pace at a comfortable distance. But by my slowing down to turn left, the car behind me will need to reduce his speed significantly until I complete my turn.

Looking around, I clearly see no other traffic. So, before slowing down significantly, I turn on my blinker, then pull into the left lane (I’m in the US), and make the left turn from there, allowing the car behind me to pass by on the right with perhaps just a bit of deceleration, rather than hitting the brakes for a major slowdown.

I often get a friendly wave when I do this, and wave thanks too when someone does it for me. I don’t expect folks to do this same maneuver for me, as it may not be in that person’s driving comfort zone, but I am happy when they do it. I’ve not seen it done, nor done it (yet) where it turned into an incident, near-accident, or accident. I don’t advocate this maneuver for others.

Anybody else see it? Do it? Have bad outcomes from it? Oppose it?

You mean that you are driving down a two lane road (one lane in each direction) and you pull into the oncoming traffic lane (the wrong side of the road, cross the double yellow) to make your turn? I have never, ever seen anyone do this.

I see it quite a lot and have never had any problems from it. I wouldn’t do it myself just because I’m not comfortable with it but I can appreciate it when I’m on a road with no shoulders going 70 mph. Though, as mentioned in the OP, I’d probably have a a problem with it if it was done without perfect visibility and no oncoming traffic.

I live in a pretty rural area, if it matters. Not sure about the legality of it in my area.

I thought that’s why we have the solid and broken lines on the road:

[li]Double broken lines mean either direction of traffic can mosey into the oncoming lane to pass a slow poke in their own right lane.[/li][li]Solid+broken line means the above, but only for the direction of traffic that is on the broken line side. Traffic on the solid line side must stay put for as long as they have a solid line.[/li][li]Double solid line means that none of the above monkey business can happen and each direction of traffic must stay in its own single lane.[/li][/ul]

Between DC and the Atlantic Coast is US Route 50 which is a single lane in each direction for quite a while. I have seen this happen quite often. A car turning left will pull into the oncoming lane of traffic (using it as a turn lane) so long as it doesn’t cross a solid line. This seems acceptable to me according to the passing rules outlined above.

I HATE it when I see people do that. You are driving on the wrong side of the road. And “I didn’t see any other traffic” sounds like famous last words. The guy who pulled out from a stop sign right in front of me on a clear sunny day at a totally flat and unobstructed intersection as I was toodling along at 55 mph didn’t see me either.

(I also hate the practice of pulling over onto the shoulder on the wrong side of the road in order to retrieve mail from a rural mailbox through the driver’s window. Jeez, just pull into the driveway and walk back to the box, you lazy bastards!)

I also live in a very very rural area, and I don’t like the idea of bending the rules just because there’s less traffic. Seems like a good way for somebody to go splat.

Nah, growing up in the rural midwest, it’s pretty common out here. I’ve done it and seen it done many times. I would guess that if an accident ensued, you may be found guilty for being left of center or improper turning but if there was an accident, that would be the last of your worries.

My husband likes to back into the drive and when there is traffic, he pulls off into the berm on the left side of the road. I hate that. At night, oncoming traffic suddenly has headlights shining at them from the wrong side of the road. My contention is that it would be easy for a driver to become disoriented thinking they were in the wrong lane.

Your OP confused me for a minute. I live in Los Angeles. I haven’t seen a two-lane road for some time. Then I realized that was what you were talking about.

Never seen it done in Ohio, and I lived in a somewaht rural area. I wouldn’t do it, but that’s just me.

I haven’t seen it, but only because we don’t need to around here. Texas Transportation Code (Section 545.058) allows drivers to use a wide shoulder to pass anyone making a left turn (You can also drive on a wide shoulder to let faster traffic pass; don’t forget to wave.) All of the highways and most major farm-market roads in the state have wide shoulders to facilitate this.

If someone ahead of me is stopped in my lane of travel, making a left turn off a 2 way road, I will slowly pass them on the right provided there is room to do so safely, without leaving the pavement. This is legal.

If I saw someone ahead of me switch lanes and begin driving the wrong way in the opposing lane, even if they had the turn signal on, I would not pass them. I would wait for crazy driver to either stop or leave the roadway. Because the driver’s intentions are not clear, and are illegal and unsafe.

I don’t understand why this manuver is needed. If there is no traffic coming toward us in the opposing lane, your left turn should be able to be made quickly the legal way. Put on left turn signal, pull close to center line without crossing it, and make your turn when you reach the left exit. How is that holding me up? How is performing an illegal and dangerous move in front of me a ‘courtesy’? I don’t get it.

Never saw it done where I grew up. And if someone were do it in front of me I call about a drunk driver on the highway.

If a car should want to pull out of the side road you are aiming to turn left onto, he might not even look in your direction. He might simply look to the left, where oncoming traffic ought to be coming from, and then pull out. I have done that myself. You would both be mashed. It seems unnecessarily risky to me. If my newly licensed daughter asked me this, I would tell her absolutely not. It’s not worth it for a friendly wave. That’s my two cents.

Driving standards over here are really quite bad. The rule of thumb is that if you haven’t made eye contact with the other driver then you have right of way! You constantly need to second guess drivers.

Your maneuvre would be confusing to me. I would suspect that you may be driving over the limit and are about to either drive off the road or realise you are on the wrong side of the road and suddenly correct back into the right lane. I wouldn’t pass you until you had made your turn.

I think if you are literally unable to see or notice traffic coming towards you in the opposite lane or waiting to pull out from the side road you’re turning on to you shouldn’t be driving in the first place. You probably shouldn’t be allowed to walk down the sidewalk lest your blindness lead you into trouble. There is nothing unsafe about using the other lane to turn if you are paying the barest bit of attention to what’s happening on the road.

I never saw anyone do it when I drove on rural roads in NJ. (Yes, they do exist.) Someone doing this in front of me would not save me any time, since I would slow down and not pass as I tried to figure out wtf the guy was doing. For all I know he could be texting or something.

Never done it, never will, and would not encourage those who do by giving friendly waves.

Saw it all the time in the great sea of corn and soy that’s Illinois. We called it a farmer’s turn.

It sounds like a bad habit. While it could be safe if you had complete visibility in all directions, people would tend to get very sloppy about that.

On a side note, I was in heavy traffic on Friday when a pickup truck was weaving through traffic at speed and making multiple unsafe lane changes. Just as I was thinking “he’s going to kill someone” a CHP officer pulled him over. First time I’ve ever seen a homicidal maniac pulled over just in time. Yes, I’ve seen others pulled over, but never was it so needed.

In Oregon it’s legal to pass on the right when the person being passed has their left turn signal on a two lane road. If there’s traffic buildup sometimes people will pull over to let everyone pass then make their turn, but mostly they just sit in the middle of the road waiting for traffic to pass. I’ve never seen anyone pull into the opposite lane of traffic to make a lefthand turn in my life, I didn’t know people actually did that. It sounds dangerous.

I like that term. I’ll have to remember it.

Yeah, this maneuver has a high potential for misuse, poor judgement, bad outcomes, and a whole lot of unintended consequences. What works okay on 0.00001% of driving situations will get tried out in unsuitable situations all too often.

But on the country roads where there is no shoulder, it gets used a lot.