Many collisions are caused by drivers who fail to turn safely.

Right turns

Remember that travel lanes are not always marked with lines on the road or signs. A travel lane is a section of roadway wide enough to allow the passage of a single line of vehicles. This includes a curb lane lined with parking meters. The lane next to the curb where vehicles park is best referred to as a curb lane, not a parking lane. Curb lanes are not just for parking. They are used to turn off a road and onto a road.

Prepare for a turn well in advance. If you are not in the proper turning lane, check your rear view and outside mirrors and do a shoulder check. Signal and change lanes when it is safe. You should be in your proper turning lane at least 15 metres (50 feet) before the intersection.

Be sure you yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and traffic on the cross street. Before you begin to turn, check the street you are turning onto to decide if there is room to turn into the curb lane. Check over your right shoulder for cyclists and pedestrians approaching the intersections.

When turning right from a two-way road onto another two-way road, stay centred in your turning lane, and no more than 1 metre (3 feet) from the curb or edge of the road. Stay approximately this distance as you approach the intersection, while turning, and as you leave the intersection.

Remember the following when turning:

  • Yield to pedestrians crossing in the crosswalk.
  • Do not enter the crosswalk to turn until pedestrians are safely out of the intersection.

Do not turn wide and occupy 2 lanes when turning. Unless prohibited by a sign, you may turn right on a red light after you come to a complete stop at the proper stopping point (stop line or crosswalk).

Turning right

Turning right - illustration 1

If it is safe, complete your turn by turning into the first available traffic lane on the right when there is space to allow you to gently accelerate and change lanes. After you complete the turn, look well ahead along your intended path.

Turning right into the closest lane

Turning right - illustration 2

If a parked vehicle or obstruction is far enough away, complete the turn in the lane behind the vehicle or obstruction. Then change lanes to the left when safe. It is recommended for this type of turn that the curb lane be clear of parked vehicles for at least a 1/2 block.

Turning right around a parked vehicle or other obstruction

Turning right - illustration 3

If the first available lane of the street you are turning onto has a parked vehicle or obstruction close to the corner, turn into the first available lane to the left of the parked vehicle. When the lane is free, turn directly into that lane.

Note: Yield to other vehicles approaching from your left that are travelling in the lane you will enter,

Left turns

Poor judgment of time and space when turning left is one of the leading causes of crashes. Left turns can be dangerous because there can be traffic approaching from more than one direction and your vehicle will be crossing the lanes of the oncoming traffic.

Prepare well in advance. You should be in your proper turning lane at least 15 metres (50 feet) before the intersection. When turning from a 2-way road onto another 2-way road with a single left turn lane, drive into the lane to the right side of the yellow line.

Remain behind the crosswalk if there is only room for one vehicle ahead of you in your lane in the intersection. Enter the intersection if it is legal to do so when the vehicle ahead of you clears the intersection. If you must stop in the intersection prior to completing a left turn, stay to the right of the yellow line and keep your front wheels pointed straight ahead. This will prevent you from being pushed into oncoming traffic if you are hit from behind.

Check the crosswalk of the road you are turning onto for pedestrians and cyclists. Look well along your intended path. When it is safe, turn the vehicle left at the intersection. Complete the turn by driving to the right side of the yellow line of the road you have entered.

Do not turn wide and occupy 2 lanes when turning.

Before turning left off a 2-lane highway, do a shoulder check to the left to be sure you are not being passed by another vehicle on your left.

Turning left from a 2-way onto a 2-way

Turning left - illustration 1

When it is safe and legal, turn from the lane nearest and to the right of the yellow line. Turn into the lane nearest and to the right of the yellow line. Be sure you have enough time and space to turn safely if there is oncoming traffic. Yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians crossing to your left.

Turning left from a 2-way onto a 1-way

Turning left - illustration 2

When it is safe and legal, turn from the lane nearest the yellow line. Turn into the first available lane on the left side of the road. Yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians crossing to your left.

Turning left from a 1-way onto a 2-way

Turning left - illustration 3

When it is safe and legal, turn from the lane nearest the left side of the road. Turn into the nearest lane to the right of the yellow line. Yield to pedestrians to your left.

Turning left from a 1-way onto a 1-way

Turning left - illustration 4

When it is safe and legal, turn from the lane nearest the left side of the road. Turn into the lane nearest to the left side of the road. Yield to pedestrians crossing to your left.

When the light is red, if there are no signs prohibiting the turn, you may turn left on a red light from a one way to a one way after you come to a complete stop at the proper stopping location (stop line or crosswalk) and it is safe. This also applies to dual lane turns. Yield to pedestrians crossing to your left.

  • Intersections and Turns
  • Turning