How to Do Your Part and Use The Two-Way Left Turn Lane Properly
One of the most frustrating things for Maine drivers is when other drivers don't understand how the two-way left turn lane works. When you look at it, it seems simple. Pull into the left turn lane when you want to turn left and wait for traffic to clear to complete your turn. But many drivers use the lane for all the wrong things.
Just in case you aren't familiar, here's a Google Maps image of the two-way left turn lane on Roosevelt Trail in Windham. There are five lanes, two for travelling west, two for travelling east and one center lane for turning left in either direction designated by a solid yellow line paired with a dotted yellow line. White arrows pointing left for each direction are painted in the lane.
Even in this satellite photo, drivers aren't doing it right, but in fairness, the State of Maine does a terrible job of explaining how this lane works so let's boil it down to plain English: The two-way left turn lane is for immediate turning only.It's not for travelling in and not for getting in to turn left at an intersection 500 feet down the road.
See that solid yellow line that I've highlighted with my red scribbles. (You try making a straight line with a mouse.) That's VERY important and is being completely ignored by drivers in the satellite image.
Everyone in that center lane in the photo wants to turn left onto Route 115, likely on their way to get on the Maine Turnpike. However those solid yellow lines mean that the left turn lane for the intersection begins where the two-way left turn lane ends. You can't sit in the left turn lane to turn left at the intersection. You must enter the one-way turn lane that the car with the 35 on it is in. When you get 10 cars deep, you prevent everyone else from turning left in both directions. Stay in the dedicated left turn lane to turn left at the intersection.
This is what NOT to do:
The Scarborough Police Department pointed out that they have the same issue on Route 1 in front of the station.
Of course if you want to be the good driver, you probably won't get let in by all the bad drivers when you try to enter the dedicated left turning lane like you supposed to. I just wait it out if I have to in the actual left turn lane and gently force the issue by sliding into the left lane ahead of all the drivers not following the law.
Don't be a bad driver. Use the left turning lane for immediate turning only.