One big lane, splitting into two little lanes

Q: When I turn right from No. 2 road onto River Road, there is a wide single lane. After a short while, it splits into a left turn & a ‘go straight’ lane. Should I use the middle lane position if I want go straight?

One big lane:

R2

One big lane about to do the splits (a lot less painful for a road

R2-2

And split:

R2-3

Kind of like this one:

R2-5

Normally for something like this you would drive in the middle portion of the big lane until you can actually see that the lanes are splitting. When you get closer to the split, just pick one side and stick to it. It’s polite to signal before moving to let the people behind you know where you are going, but it’s not technically required as it is not really a lane change. If you stick to your intended side early on, then there may be no need for a shoulder check; but if you leave it for a while it may be necessary, depending on how much space there is beside you (enough for a car? or a bike?).

Avoid driving in the middle position until you get right on top of the lines! The more time – and more importantly, space – you leave before you move over, the more time there is for vehicles behind you to move into the space you also want to move into; so it’s better to make your move sooner rather than later. (I think most drivers stick to a side quite early on and I think this is a good decision as long as you don’t change your mind!) Also note the solid whites lines. It is illegal to change lanes over solid white lines, so obviously you should move into your chosen lane well before the lines. Hope that makes some kind of sense. Remember to keep track of what is happening around you 360 degrees. Maybe you’re familiar with this road, but other people who aren’t familiar with the area and who aren’t looking very far ahead at the signs may be caught off guard and may try to ‘change lanes’ once you have already moved so be prepared and alert.

Thanks for this question Stacy.

By Carmen

Carmen became a driving instructor at the age of 22 in North Vancouver, Canada.

2 comments

  1. I’m glad this question was asked and answered! However, I noticed in these examples, one lane is actually a turning lane only…what if both lanes are also to go straight? Would the same general rules still apply?

    1. Yes I think that doesn’t really matter (Well other than I totally forgot to mention people who are turning will keep their turn signal on, lol, I guess that part is kinda obvious though) Pick a lane early and stick to it. ;)

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