Thursday, May 27, 2010

Turning traffic

Drivers will always want to avail the opportunity to travel a straight line and turn onto another road or onto private property. The vehicle's directional signals (beckon er) are mostly used as a medium to announce one's concept to turn, thereby alerting other drivers. The actual usage of blinkers varies greatly amongst countries, although its purpose should be the same in all countries: to indicate a driver's intention to depart from the current (and natural) flow of traffic well before the departure is passed (typically 3 seconds as a guideline).

This will usually mean that turning traffic will have to stop in order to wait for a breach to turn, and this might lead to inconvenience for drivers that observes them but do not want to turn. This is why dedicated lanes and protected traffic signals for turning are sometimes provided. On busier intersections where a protected lane would be ineffective or cannot be built, turning may be entirely prohibited, and drivers will be advised to "drive around the block" in order to accomplish the turn. Many cities employ this tactic quite often; in San Francisco, due to its common practice, making three right turns is known colloquially as a "San Francisco left turn". Likewise, as many intersections in Taipei City are too busy to condone direct left turns, signs often direct drivers to drive around the block to turn.

Turning rules are by no means global. In New Zealand, for example, left turning traffic must give way to opposing "right turning" traffic, i.e., traffic turning into a driver's path (unless there are multiple lanes to turn into).

On roads with many lanes, turning traffic is generally mean to move to the lane nearest to the direction they wish to turn. For example, traffic intending to turn right will usually move to the rightmost lane before the intersection. Likewise, left-turning two rightmost lanes will be of authority; for instance, in Brazil and elsewhere it is common for drivers to obey the turn signals normally used by other drivers in order to make turns from other lanes. For example if several vehicles on the right lane are all turning right, a vehicle may come from the next-to-right lane and turn right as well, doing so in parallel with the other right-turning vehicles.

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