Silverdale intersection puts the lie to my left-turn advice

The in basket: Emilio Gonzalez read the recent Road Warrior column about not swinging wide in making your left and right turns and applied it to a location I regret to say I hadn’t considered.

“Suppose there are two separate and distinct left-turn lanes provided for two drivers running side by side making the left turn,” he wrote. “Could the driver on the right side not be able to claim priority for the far-right lane of the street being turned into?

“I am specifically referring to the intersection of Silverdale Way and Bucklin Hill Road,” he said. “I am usually driving south on Silverdale Way, and at that intersection, I take the right lane of the two distinctly marked left-turn lanes into Bucklin Hill Road.

“Upon getting a green arrow, I proceed to make my left turn.  And invariably, cars traveling on the far right lane of Silverdale Way coming from the opposite direction but with a red light, will honk their horns to force their way to a right turn into Bucklin Hill Road.”

Do those right turners have a superior claim to the outside lane of the street being entered than he does, he asked. “The answer you gave in your column,  apparently backed by two traffic officers, might give tacit approval to those drivers in my example to continue doing what they are doing.”

The out basket: I’m afraid I get an “incomplete” in my handling of the left-turn question. My advice in the previous column applied only to single turn lanes. Obviously, when two lanes make the same turn side by side, they aren’t supposed to merge into one lane at the same time. When one lane is intended to serve competing traffic flows, the question becomes which flow has the green light. That would be the left turner, who would have the right of way in this case.

Deputy Scott Wilson. spokesman for the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, says, “When turning left, from southbound Silverdale Way onto eastbound NW Bucklin Hill Road, sheriff’s deputies have experienced those turning from (northbound) Silverdale Way onto (eastbound) Bucklin Hill Road cutting them off as they execute the right turn, due to inattention to traffic flow and the arrangement of the highway traffic lanes.

“And then there are some who just think that they can ‘beat the on-coming flow of turning traffic’ and slip in before the turning vehicles get there.

“It’s a ‘failure to yield’ type of violation, and would result in the at-fault driver (the right turner) receiving a notice of infraction with a penalty of $124.”

4 thoughts on “Silverdale intersection puts the lie to my left-turn advice

  1. Travis, without consulting the drivers manual or RCW I would have to say that a person exercising a free right turn would always have to yield to someone with a green left turn signal. However, it is illegal to change lanes in an intersection. So if a person is in the inside left turn lane and turns into the outside lane, they made an illegal lane change. A person taking a free right should be able to assume the left hand turner coming from the inside lane would stay in that lane. If there were an accident the left hand turner changing lanes in the intersection should be at fault.

    Just to splitting straws… 😉


  2. South bound drivers on Warren Avenue have two lanes to make right turns. If I use the left or inside lane, invariably the car in the right lane moves over and cuts me off. Have never seen anyone ticketed there for changing lanes in the intersection.

    Leaving Bremerton on Burwell after crossing Farragut, the left lane is an HOV lane that starts at the intersection. Am I making an illegal lane change if I go directly into that far left lane from the center lane on Burwell?

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