Previous in Forum: Oxygen & life   Next in Forum: Cloning memory?
Close
Close
Close
15 comments
Associate

Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 40
Good Answers: 3

What is going on here?

12/05/2021 9:53 AM

Could any US residents tell me what is going on in this photo of a US roadway that I grabbed from a movie?

In the screenshot below, the two lanes to the right and the two lanes to the left both have moving traffic but the car in the center lane is stationary.

The solid line either side of the center lane seem to imply you can get out to either side once you are in, but you can't get in from either side.

So how does a car get in to the center lane if access from either side is denied?

Yet if you watch the movie linked below, at 28:24 the sign in the center lane implies you can enter the center lane to turn left or right but then what is the black car at 28:27 doing as there is no adjacent left or right turn where that car is located as it's clearly facing "north" as we look at the photo.

So I'm guessing the stationary car in the center lane could be a police car monitoring traffic and that makes me ask how long would a center lane like that usually be, if that is its purpose?

The other possibility implied by the photo is that the center lane is two-way and if that is the case then what are the rules if two emergency vehicles are in the center lane going in opposite directions towards each other at high speed with heavy stationary traffic either side?

Looks like a good scenario for a disaster movie.

Check it on Youtube. At 28:22, access to the center lane seems to be denied to everyone but at 28:24 that seems to be contradicted by a sign in the center of the road that allows access?

Perhaps my belief that you can't cross solid yellow lines is incorrect in this case?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnfGbp5Z1I4

Register to Reply
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Guru

Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1558
Good Answers: 138
#1

Re: What is going on here?

12/05/2021 10:22 AM

I don't know, but I do recall 20 years ago being on a California highway (highway speeds) where, based upon street lights, the center lane went in one direction during part of the day and in the other direction during other parts of the day. I never once went in that lane. It scared me to death.

__________________
Few things limit our potential as much as knowing answers and setting aside questions.
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: About 4000 miles from the center of the earth (+/-100 mi)
Posts: 9147
Good Answers: 1038
#2

Re: What is going on here?

12/05/2021 10:50 AM

The solid yellow line on your side of the dashed center line means you cannot cross into the other lane.

My guess is that the center lane is reserved for emergency vehicles, which are not restricted by the yellow lines.

Register to Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - Been there, done that. Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Long Island NY
Posts: 15189
Good Answers: 937
#3

Re: What is going on here?

12/05/2021 12:06 PM

Here are the fundamental meanings of yellow lines for traffic lanes. One cannot legally cross a double yellow line for any reason unless ordered to do so by a traffic control official (policeman or firefighter). One can cross a single yellow line in order to leave or enter the public roadway (traffic to or from a driveway or parking lot) but crossing a single yellow line to pass another vehicle by moving into vacant incoming traffic lanes is illegal. A yellow dotted line identifies opposing traffic lanes and a vehicle can pass another vehicle by moving into vacant incoming traffic lanes legally.

So, this apparent nowhere median region is actually a region for vehicles to enter or leave a busy public roadway. When leaving the roadway a driver can enter the median and wait for an opening in the oncoming traffic to appear. When entering the roadway the driver can cross traffic and enter the median to wait for an opening in the traffic flow to enter.

The drawback of this system is unless the vehicle waiting in the median uses their turn signals traffic moving on the roadway does not know if the vehicle is entering or leaving.

__________________
"Don't disturb my circles." translation of Archimedes last words
Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: About 4000 miles from the center of the earth (+/-100 mi)
Posts: 9147
Good Answers: 1038
#5
In reply to #3

Re: What is going on here?

12/05/2021 7:51 PM

The drawback of this system is unless the vehicle waiting in the median uses their turn signals traffic moving on the roadway does not know if the vehicle is entering or leaving.

That's a problem around here. If you see one of the back lights flashing, it's probably a loose connection. No one seems to know what that little lever sticking out of the steering column is for.

Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: at the beach in Florida
Posts: 31320
Good Answers: 1733
#4

Re: What is going on here?

12/05/2021 1:02 PM

It all depends on the volume and speed of traffic flow on a particular road as to what provisions for turning across the opposite direction traffic flow is provided...

https://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/services/publications/fhwaop02090/index.htm

__________________
Break a sweat everyday doing something you enjoy
Register to Reply
2
Guru

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Placerville, CA (38° 45N, 120° 47'W)
Posts: 6007
Good Answers: 243
#9
In reply to #4

Re: What is going on here?

12/05/2021 11:08 PM

Your first image is appropriate. Here in California, left-turn lanes are very common on streets where there is sufficient traffic that a left turn into a driveway or other entry is likely to require a significant wait for the vehicle doing the turn. Thus the vehicle doing the turn doesn't hold up the traffic behind him/her.

We used one just today, to turn into a short dead-end street.

__________________
Teaching is a great experience, but there is no better teacher than experience.
Register to Reply Good Answer (Score 2)
Guru
Hobbies - DIY Welding - Wannabeabettawelda

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Annapolis, Maryland
Posts: 7276
Good Answers: 422
#6

Re: What is going on here?

12/05/2021 9:28 PM

I'm going with Redfred and Solar Eagle's explanations as a way to turn left into a side street without impeding traffic while waiting for a break in traffic, or when turning left from a side street as a way to get ready to merge with traffic flowing to the left.

There is another use for this lane in cities. Delivery trucks park in the center with their four-way flashers on to deliver their cargo to businesses on either side of the road.

Register to Reply
Guru
Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Engineering Fields - Piping Design Engineering - New Member

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Richland, WA, USA
Posts: 20985
Good Answers: 781
#8
In reply to #6

Re: What is going on here?

12/05/2021 10:57 PM

In Portland, OR, there was once an art campaign of sorts:

__________________
In vino veritas; in cervisia carmen; in aqua E. coli.
Register to Reply
Guru
Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Engineering Fields - Piping Design Engineering - New Member

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Richland, WA, USA
Posts: 20985
Good Answers: 781
#7

Re: What is going on here?

12/05/2021 10:40 PM

The upper pic in Post 4 shows a two-way left-turn lane. I think this is the most likely scenario, but there may be other meanings in various locales. For instance, I have heard that in Poland this is a two-way passing lane . (Headlights mandatory when using it!)

__________________
In vino veritas; in cervisia carmen; in aqua E. coli.
Register to Reply
Active Contributor

Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 21
Good Answers: 1
#10

Re: What is going on here?

12/05/2021 11:30 PM

Those lanes are common in South Carolina. You would get into the center lane to turn in to a driveway that is on your left that is between cross streets ( this takes you out of the traffic flow ) . They also allow you to get ready to get into traffic when you pull out of the driveway. They are also called the head on collision lane because they are used by cars going in either direction ( you turning left and them turning left )

Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru
Engineering Fields - Nuclear Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Louisville, OH
Posts: 1549
Good Answers: 29
#15
In reply to #10

Re: What is going on here?

12/06/2021 3:16 PM

Instead of head on collision lane I've heard it called the suicide lane!

__________________
Lehman57
Register to Reply
Guru
Australia - Member - New Member

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 2133
Good Answers: 251
#11

Re: What is going on here?

12/06/2021 2:53 AM

Hello,

Australia has similar "centre turning lanes" usually in low speed traffic situations to enable turning across the oncoming traffic while not impeding the traffic you have come from. They are definitely not for travelling and usually have traffic furniture (bollards, traffic islands and such) at each intersection, pedestrian crossing and so on.

Usually related to entry to shopping centres, but there is a no "U" turn expectation.

__________________
Just an Engineer from the land down under.
Register to Reply
2
Guru

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Aggieland, Texas
Posts: 666
Good Answers: 8
#12

Re: What is going on here?

12/06/2021 5:23 AM

It's a continuous left turn lane. When used on rural highways, they have a dual function. They provide left turn protection where needed and keep on coming traffic separated more than just a centerline stripe.

Register to Reply Good Answer (Score 2)
Power-User

Join Date: May 2017
Location: Houston the Emerald City that would be Oz, TX serving art collectors and patrons worldwide
Posts: 216
Good Answers: 8
#13

Re: What is going on here?

12/06/2021 10:18 AM

Center Lane is a turn only lane. The double lines are to keep flowing traffic out of the turn lane. As the lines are not curbs or medians, but only painted, they allow drivers from either direction to enter to make their turn.

Simple pragmatics; not everything is higher order of mathematics.

__________________
To get anywhere fast the first thing you do is go off in the wrong direction.
Register to Reply
Member

Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 7
#14

Re: What is going on here?

12/06/2021 12:48 PM

In South Philadelphia the center lane is used for parking.

Register to Reply
Register to Reply 15 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Algeria (1); Brave Sir Robin (1); BruceFlorida (1); dkwarner (1); dshacks (1); Just an Engineer (1); Lehman57 (1); PAPADOC (1); redfred (1); Rixter (2); SolarEagle (1); Stephen Archer (1); Tornado (2)

Previous in Forum: Oxygen & life   Next in Forum: Cloning memory?

Advertisement