Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

Opinion

August 7, 2012

Laws must be obeyed when driving center ‘suicide lane’

Athens — I hesitate to write this column. So far I have had a minimum of three people ask me about writing this. I agree there is a problem, but I may be part of the problem, not the solution.

It has been brought to my attention that people are using the center turn lane  as an additional lane on the road. I don't think that was the purpose of a left turn lane. It is called the turn lane for a reason.

I don't drive in that lane, but I do use it as a merging lane.  Let me make it very clear, I don't  drive in the turn lane, but if I am trying to cross the street, and the traffic is bad on both sides, I will get in the turn lane, and stop until I can move over.

I think the people who have asked me to write about this are concerned about people traveling for a mile or so in this lane.  Which we all know can be dangerous, if someone is driving in a turn lane, and a car is pulling into that turn lane.

There is a reason it is referred to as “suicide lane.” It’s because traffic can enter from either direction into one lane.

Two cars entering at the same point from different directions may be a major problem, or better known as a major accident.

I researched this topic to find information that pertained to turning lanes. This is what I found on the Texas Highway Man Pages.

Center-turn lanes are for use only when preparing to turn left from the main road onto a side street or driveway only.  Only enter the lane just before you are ready to slow down for the turn.  Also, the Federal Highway Administration's "Read Your Road" guide indicates that, when turning from a side street or driveway onto the main road, you may also use this lane as a temporary refuge to wait for traffic to clear, as long as you pull into the lane, and wait, and don't use the center-turn lane as an acceleration lane. 

However, it is important to note that Texas law does not seem to specifically permit this action, and there have been reports that some folks have been cited for doing this.

The court has upheld their citation, so it is recommend to avoid this maneuver, unless you absolutely have to. 

Okay,  I think this is the opinion of the person who writes on Texas Highway Man Page. I like his opinion, because I am not breaking the law, if I just sit in the middle of the road.

The truth is that the center lane is a turn lane only. And yes I may be breaking the law.

In the driver’s handbook, it shows the center lane to be for turning only. No, it should not be used for a merging. This is just ruining my driving experience.  But again, it may keep me alive longer, if I obey these small traffic laws. 

This is a big problem in Gun Barrel City on State Highway 334, because it is so difficult to cross the street. If the traffic lights would match up where they all change at the same time, you might be able to get to where you are going.

But if you  continue  to use it as a merge lane, you should come to a complete stop. This lane was never meant to travel on. If you stop your vehicle, the cars coming towards you will know how to proceed.

I will have to agree that most major accidents happen in the “suicide lane.” When your driving on any road, you need to be aware, and make sure other travelers are aware of what you are doing.

In recent weeks, there have been major accidents in our community. We have lost some very good and loved people. Let us all be more considerate of the other drivers on the road.

If that means I have to obey the law by not merging in the so-called “suicide lane,” that is what I will have to do.

I haven't received a ticket in a very long time. My last ticket was a number of years ago. I got that ticket for speeding, and  decided to take a defensive-driving course on the Internet.

I don't remember the entire course, but I can't remember anything being said about the turn lane. If as many people are driving in that lane as I think there are, it should be one of the main discussion points in any defensive-driving course. 

The people who mentioned  I should write a column about this center-lane problem were all men.  I hope they were not trying to tell me this is a women's problem.  I may take exception to that.

Kathi Nailling is a Staff Writer for the Athens Daily Review.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Wilson mug.JPG Rolling into something new

    She did it.
    My baby girl rolled over for the first time this past week while daddy and mommy were watching closely.
    As other major news broke across the county, watching my baby roll over for the first time was by far the biggest news of the week for me. Odd.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joe new mug.jpg Fanfare is a time to prepare for another season

    I love to see the talent our student athletes have across Henderson County. To know that each player puts in the blood, sweat and tears to play for a district championship and hopefully a state title is something special to see.
    Another great in the world of sports is a player who is retiring this season in New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
    Jeter once said, “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do — and I believe that.”

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • kathi New  copy.jpeg The greatest country in the world has hungry children

    No child should go hungry. We are the greatest country in the world, yet we have hungry children.
    An article I recently read said that if a child in school can't afford lunch, they will be given a sandwich and water. I was told the sandwich is cheese between two pieces of bread.
    I hope everyone realizes that is what they serve in the county jail. Not that I know this from personal experience. I was told from someone who did know from experience.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase

    Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase.
    Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze.
    It means no worries for the rest of your days.
    It's our problem-free philosophy.
    Hakuna Matata!
    Congratulations, if you have watched the Lion King a couple of times you now have this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg It was a week in the depth of heat, then cooler

    Sunday and Monday of this week have been very uncomfortable.  The air conditioner at our house has been down, and the temperature outside and in the house have been way up.
    Thank God for the blessing of the cool temperatures and the rain that fell on Tuesday, then on Wednesday.  It changed things just a little bit.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Time away is necessary for everyone

    I can remember as a kid writing essays on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” As the years pass, and we are more in-tune with the workplace, those vacations get shorter and shorter.
    Do you ever have those days  when you just need a vacation? Sometimes you just need to get away.
    Taking time off work should be fun and rejuvenating. We all need a recharge every now and then. But vacations aren't what they use to be. We rarely disconnect ourselves from our jobs.

    July 12, 2014

  • Joe new mug.jpg Student athletes: Time to wake up and get to work

    Hey student athletes, it is about time for you to wake up and get to work.
    Your summer is coming to an end, and the early morning wake up calls for practices are right around the corner.
    I am talking to the football players, volleyball players, cross country kids, band members, drill team members and cheerleaders.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Remember who you are

    Are you running so fast that you have forgotten why you started the race in the first place?
    Life moving at a blistering pace that it is tough to keep up?
    Maybe it is time to stop, take a deep look into the pool of water and remember. Remember who you are.
    On numerous occasions, I have had to do just that. Ironically, various movies have caused me to look inside.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg CSUMC provided a memorable experience

    My wife Jean and I went to a very interesting, and what I consider a very unique event last Saturday night.
    I had heard that the church where we are members, Carroll Springs United Methodist Church, was having an event in which people sitting in the audience would sing their favorite hymns into a microphone.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rich mug.jpg Independence ultimately won on battlefield

    I always enjoy celebrating Independence Day, and hearing some of the stirring words written in the Declaration of Independence.
    Thomas Jefferson wrote that our Creator has given us certain rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The way I see it, if I have life and liberty, that gives me a pretty good start on the third one.
    But as eloquent as our founding fathers were, and how moving the texts they left behind, one fact can’t be overlooked. Our independence was ultimately won and secured on the battlefield.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

Biz Marquee
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN