Ask The Driving School Instructor: Left Turn
September 8, 2014
Question: When making a left turn at an intersection, can you end the turn in any lane?
Answer: In most states, whether turning left or right, you must turn into the nearest lane. In other words, if you’re making a right turn from the right lane, you should turn into the far right lane of the street you are turning onto. If making a left turn, you should turn into the left lane.
Florida law is a little different from most states. Under Florida law, you must still make a right turn from the right lane into the right lane. However, when making a left turn, you may turn into “any lane lawfully available, or safe for the desired direction of travel.”
Let’s look at a scenario where it would be legal to turn left into any “lawfully available, safe” open lane. Let’s say, as soon as you turn left, you need to make a right turn into a parking lot. In that case, under Florida law, it would be legal to turn left into the far right lane as long as – and this is important – the far right lane is clear of traffic and you can safely move into that lane. If there is traffic in the lane you want to move into, you must move into the safest available lane and then move into your desired lane as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Unless you need to turn again, after making a left turn, the safest and smartest thing to do is to turn from the left lane into the left lane. Afterwards, if you need to move over into another lane, you should signal for a lane change, check to see if the lane is clear, and then move over. Remember that, under Florida law, you must use your turn signal whenever you are making a turn or when changing lanes.