Turning Left Across Yellow Lines in British Columbia

Turning Left Across Yellow Lines

Everyone knows that you can turn left and right at intersections, but you might wonder if you can also turn left across yellow lines into a driveway, for example. The rules about this may be different depending on where in the world, country, province, or state we are talking about. For Beautiful British Columbia, the short answer is, yes you basically can, as long as you aren’t impeding traffic.

turning left across yellow lines
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So, can I turn left across yellow lines?

The short answer: Maybe 

You can turn left across yellow lines if:

  • You are careful and do it safely
  • You don’t impede traffic
  • There is no sign prohibiting the turn
do not turn left sign
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Do Not Turn Left – Regulatory Sign

From the ICBC Drive Smart manual

Don’t take it from me, read it from ICBC itself. The following is from the ICBC Learn to Drive Smart manual. 

Turns in the middle of a block

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left across yellow lines
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Yellow lines separate traffic moving in opposite directions

A lot of people don’t realize that the road lines don’t have a really close relationship with the rules of turning left and right at intersections or anywhere else. Yellow road lines separate traffic moving in different directions, and white road lines separate traffic moving in the same direction. Check out my complete guide to Canadian Road Lines to get all of the details.

Should you turn left across yellow lines, though?

The next question of course is, well, should you do it? I mean, we can send a bunch of humans to Mars to start a new colony there… but… should we? It’s questions for the universe.

Personally, I just stick to turning at intersections whenever I can. This is because I know that other drivers will expect me to be there. Turning left across yellow lines could potentially be dangerous because others might be surprised to see you, and surprises are never good while driving.

Lately, I’m just not in the mood for any extra hassle.

An alternative method to get there?

And often, you can ask yourself if there’s a better way. This can be done by planning your route in advance to include only intersection turns. Or, to include a right turn rather than a left one.

Consider, too, that any resulting collision would more than likely be at least half your fault. Any statement starting with, “So… I was turning left…” Probably won’t end well, just because left turns are supposed to yield, generally speaking. Just something to think about. Check out my full guide on how to turn right or turn left safely at an intersection.

Motor Vehicle Act – Turning Left Other Than at an Intersection

Turning left other than at intersection

166  A driver of a vehicle must not turn the vehicle to the left from a highway at a place other than an intersection unless

(a)the driver causes the vehicle to approach the place on the portion of the right hand side of the roadway that is nearest the marked centre line, or if there is no marked centre line, then as far as practicable in the portion of the right half of the roadway that is nearest the centre line,

(b)the vehicle is in the position on the highway required by paragraph (a), and

(c)the driver has ascertained that the movement can be made in safety, having regard to the nature, condition and use of the highway and the traffic that actually is at the time or might reasonably be expected to be on the highway.

British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act
Carmen Cohoe

Carmen became a driving instructor in beautiful North Vancouver at the age of 22 due to some crazy people who agreed to hire her. After that, there was never a dull moment teaching many different folks from many different places how to drive using automatic and standard vehicles and a minivan.

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