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Why can’t you turn right into the far lane?

According to the National Safety Council, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other day of the year. Trick-or-treating may look different this year, but it’s still important to travel safely this Halloween. Dr. Brian A. Coon, PhD, PE, a traffic engineer in our Wichita office, is providing an often-overlooked tip before celebrating this weekend’s spooky holiday.

You’re turning right at a red stoplight. You turn into the far lane to save some time. You probably know this is wrong, but you do it because it doesn’t seem dangerous. However, turning into the far lane can cause a potentially fatal accident.

When turning right, always turn into the closest lane.

It is Kansas law that a right turn should be made “as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.” In other words, you should turn right from the right lane into the right lane.

This law is a safety measure intended to protect the driver of a car. Turning right into the closest lane shortens the time that the driver’s side of a car is exposed to possible accidents, Brian said. It’s less dangerous to get rear-ended than hit on the driver’s side of your car.

Many traffic laws are created to protect the driver of the vehicle. In a moving car, there is always someone on the left side of the vehicle, so it is essential to protect that side of the car. If you turn right into the far lane, you’re risking potentially getting hit on the driver’s side of your car.

Traffic engineers like Dr. Coon are instrumental in creating and enforcing laws like this one to keep motorists safe. When you’re driving this Halloween weekend, stay safe and remember why it is illegal to turn right into the far lane!