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Best to stay in your lane at this intersection

Hamrick Road and East Pine Street has always been a dangerous intersection. It seems like at least once a month there's an accident there, but usually just minor fender-benders. But there's one danger that I think hasn't shown itself yet because passenger vehicles are too intimidated by semi-trailer traffic. Southbound Hamrick traffic turning right onto Pine has a green arrow. My understanding of Oregon traffic law is that traffic with a green arrow has the right of way, to both lanes on Pine. But I routinely watch northbound semi-trailers turning left onto Pine from Hamrick completely ignore the oncoming traffic and turn onto Pine, sometimes turning into the right lane, cutting off right-turning traffic. Who has right of way here, and can anything be done if these semi-trailers are creating a dangerous situation?

— Clint N.

Correct handling of the turns you just mentioned comes down to two Oregon Revised Statues, Clint: ORS 811.355 AND ORS 811.340. Respectfully, they tackle the wrong way to make right and left turns.

When turning right, drivers are doing it incorrectly if they don't "proceed as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway," according to the statute.

Hanging a left is also done wrong if motorists don't "make the left turn to the left of the center of the intersection whenever practicable" and "leave the intersection or other location in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction as such vehicle on the roadway being entered."

So, to sum up: Stay in your lane whether you're turning left or right. Don't turn out wide. And if you can't make the turn that way, you need to stay put until you have the all-clear, a Central Point police official said.

"If someone's not able to make that turn into the closest (left turn) lane, they would need to yield right of way to those vehicles turning right," said Capt. David Croft.

"That's a busy intersection all around," Croft said of the Hamrick and East Pine intersection. "I know they've done a lone to improve (it), but it just comes down to people being very observant."

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.