There are a lot of rules for the road in Michigan that all drivers need to pay attention to. All of these rules are laid out in the Michigan Vehicle Code, but a lot of these rules are hard to understand or are hotly debated. 

One of the more misunderstood rules is the law for turning left in Michigan. There are a few different sections in Michigan’s driving manual that layout the laws that pertain to left-hand turns and riding in the left lane.

To maintain safety on the road, it’s extremely important for all drivers to fully understand Michigan’s laws as they pertain to left-hand turns.

Michigan Lefts

Michigan has a rather unique law as it pertains to some left-hand turns. Some intersections throughout the state prohibit left turns. This is present most frequently at high-traffic intersections that could provide a higher risk of an accident.

Left-hand turns are one of the most dangerous navigations that take place while driving. In fact, 61% of all crashes that happen at an intersection are because of someone making a left-hand turn. This is one of the main reasons why Michigan Lefts exist.

In these instances, drivers are prohibited from making a left-hand turn at the intersection. Instead, they have to drive straight through the intersection and make a U-turn at a median crossover. The other option is for drivers to make a right-hand turn at the intersection, and then turn around to drive in the direction they originally wanted.

Michigan Lefts have been a part of state driving laws since the 1960s to reduce the risk of accidents. The Michigan Department of Transportation estimates that nearly 30% of all crashes in the state happen at intersections, and 40% of those are head-on collisions that involve a left-hand turn.

Turning Left on Red

Yes, turning left on red in Michigan is legal — in certain situations. Drivers may legally turn on red onto a one-way street, once they view that all traffic is clear. Drivers are allowed to make this move whether they’re coming from a two-way street or a one-way street, too.

The state’s vehicle code says drivers who sit at a red light can make “a left turn from a one-way or two-way street onto a one-way roadway carrying traffic in the direction of the left turn.” 

There are exceptions to this rule, of course, and they will be outlined by signage at the intersection. 

Driving in the Left-Hand Lane

Highways that have multiple lanes can be the bane of a lot of drivers’ existence. Drivers who want to go faster travel around other cars by passing into the left-hand lane. Sometimes, though, there is a slow-moving vehicle that is driving in that left-hand lane, clogging up traffic in the meantime.

This isn’t just an annoyance to other motorists, it can be dangerous. And that’s why it’s illegal. 

On all highways that are four lanes in Michigan, it is illegal for motorists to drive in the far left-hand lane unless they are passing another vehicle. In fact, motorists are required to drive in the far-right lane at all times unless they are in fact passing another vehicle. 

The rules are slightly different for highways that have three lanes or more traveling in the same direction. In these instances, large trucks have to use one of the right two lanes. All other motorists are allowed to use whatever lane they want.

Merging from the Center-Left Turn Lane

Some Michigan roadways have a center left-turn lane on them. And many motorists use these turn lanes as a way to merge onto the road. 

However, this is not a legal practice under the Michigan Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. In this section of the state’s driving law, it is explicitly stated that center left-turn lanes cannot be used to merge. They are only to be used for motorists who are looking to make a left-hand turn from the roadway.

The reason for this prohibition is to reduce the number of vehicles that are entering the roadway from various directions. As many drivers in Michigan know, it can get quite confusing — and rather dangerous — when multiple vehicles are driving into and out of the center turn lane on roads that have them.

Drivers can be surprised by motorists popping into the center left-turn lane to merge, which can become a very dangerous situation — especially at higher rates of speed. 

Stay Safe on the Road

Driving is a privilege and can be a lot of fun, too. But, there are many rules of the road that all motorists need to pay attention to in order to stay safe at all times.

Every state has its own specific — and sometimes quirky — rules of the road, and Michigan is no exception. Some of the most complicated and varied rules have to do with left-hand turns, which is one of the riskiest driving maneuvers a driver can make. This is why it’s extremely important to understand all the specific laws for turning left in Michigan before you head out onto the road.

At Signature Insurance, we do our best every day to help support all of our customers. We hope that all of our drivers are doing everything they can to remain safe on the road by understanding Michigan’s driving laws and sticking to them at all times.

We play our part by providing top-notch auto insurance packages that ensure that Michigan drivers are abiding by the law when it comes to carrying insurance. We also cater all of our packages to each individual driver so you don’t buy more than you need.

And if the time ever comes where you need to make a claim on your insurance policy, our agents are here to guide you through the difficult situation. Contact us today to find out more and to get a free quote.

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