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Why do drivers move to the left when they turn right?

Why do 50% of drivers turn their car six inches or more to the left before they make a right turn?

When I’m in the passing lane, I get a little uneasy when they nudge into my lane. What do you know?

Must be a psychological reason for this. A reason wont help me when my car is so much smaller than SUV’s that do this. Do they think they’re driving a semi? Seems unconscious though.

Also, I can often tell when someone is thinking about moving into my lane. They will drift in the direction they want to go, then drift back, before actually committing to move and turning on blinkers. Very small percent compared to the above behavior.

The only reason I can think of is that squaring of a corner and not clipping a curb or parked car sometimes requires it. In traffic at low speeds, I’m as guilty as the next guy. I have one of those suv’s and I don’t feel as maneuverable otherwise; sorry.

If they are in sports cars, they may be doing that to maximize the turn radius so they don’t have to slow down as much.

Hmmmm…maybe because they fantasize that they are driving an 18-wheeler?

I think it’s more because your average driver has no idea how big their vehicle really is. Watch how they drive down the road, too, and they’re very often either way right, or way left. Very few are for the most part “centered” in their lane.

Good observation. To tell the truth, I am a “weaver” too. On undivided highways with 55 mph speed limits and 110 mph closing speeds, I always drift toward the break down lane with oncoming traffic filled with text messengers. Without traffic but through populated areas, I drift the other way. Too much experience dealing with traffic accidents has made me paranoid…guilty as charged.

Besides, in big city traffic, like Boston, Hartford etc. lane lines as well as stop signs are merely suggestions and we often drive like the natives.

Disagree…that’s not really weaving. That’s just being cautious. Like the lady in a previous thread that kept hitting the curb, and several people told her to learn to drive. Same thing here…they only drive it every once in a while, it’s unfamiliar to them, whatever the reason, they’re not comfortable enough in it to take turns properly. Look for the older sort, with a vehicle that tends to be 5 or more years old. Although not a rule, they tend to be more reasonable in turns. It has nothing to do with sex, either. I’ve seen both women and men drive like crap. I’ve also seen both drive very well. I like to think I’m more in the “well” side of it, but I’m kinda biased. :slight_smile:

You don’t have to drive a semi to worry about clipping a curb. You can do it while pulling any trailer or driving any long vehicle, like a limo, a pick-up truck, or an RV.

Crossing over into another lane is called “button-hooking,” and in most places, it is illegal, even for truck drivers. However, when turning onto a narrow road, it is sometimes necessary when driving a long vehicle.

Truck drivers should almost never do it. They should move over to the left side of the lane without crossing the line.

When someone does this in a normal car, it is from a lack of training and a lack of pride in driving skill. My advice is to look out for these idiots and drive carefully. There is nothing else you can do about it.

Many years ago I was a witness to an accident where a woman turning right…first put her right turn signal on…then pulled left right before her right-hand turn…However pulled left into the lane next to her and hit a car that passing. I was about 50’ behind and saw the whole thing…The woman was furious…and was sure she was right…at least right up to the point the cop gave her a ticket for failure to yield.

When a tractor-trailer or a bus moves to the left to set up a right turn, it is called “jug handling”. Button hooking is when you stay somewhat to the left, but still in the proper lane, and pull straight into the intersection far enough to clear the curb before turning right. Button hooking is the proper way to make a right turn, and is the reason that tight intersections have “stop here on red” lines.

how many people actually follow those lines? I’ve seen more people use the crosswalk lines as stop lines

When someone does this in a normal car, it is from a lack of training and a lack of pride in driving skill.

Show me someone who lacks pride in their driving skill and I’ll show you an imaginary friend. Everyone is proud of their driving skill.

" Everyone is proud of their driving skill."

Whether the deserve to feel that way or not.

B.L.E: “…maximize the turn radius so they don’t have to slow down as much.” And they don’t have to turn the wheel as hard. This is an advantage when one arm is occupied holding a cell phone to an ear. Up the percentage to about 90%, and you have the people who make a right turn into the left-hand lane or a left turn into the right-hand lane – illegal the last time a looked – done for the same reason. Maybe 40% cross the double yellow line when rounding a curve. (Eventually the line wears away, so it’s no longer a problem.) I’d call it “car aiming ability” rather than “driving skill”.

When drivers do this in the daily driver all the time (not in the family KW or Peterbilt) it is for a variety of reasons

  1. not paying attention
  2. habit
  3. poor driving skill
  4. unrealized fantasy of being a coffee drinking gear jammer
  5. oblivious to anything except themselves

I have noticed this and it drives me nuts!!!
What about the drivers that cannot stay in thier turn lane when there are dual turn lanes? Even if the paint is worn off one can still stay in the lane. I remember in one instance watching a driver go in and out not by a tire width but at least half the vehicle SEVEN TIMES from the start of the turn until the turn was complete.

“If they are in sports cars, they may be doing that to maximize the turn radius so they don’t have to slow down as much.”

Doesn’t have to be a sports car, though. “Apexing” a turn will allow ANY vehicle to travel a wider radius and be safer at a given speed.

Also, one reason to get to the (right) side of the road before making a (left) is to execute a U-turn.

My advice to the OP is that, when a car occupies a lane, it is entitled to “every inch” of that lane, and other drivers need to allow the driver of that car full access to it.

Actually, when done with sufficient speed followed by a stab on the brakes, turning left then right is a technique called Scandinavian Flick (Feint Drift, Pendulum Turn, etc.), which allows the driver to sling shot a vehicle into a turn.

Back to the OP’s question, in a land where people can get a driver license in a Fiat 500 then legally drive a Ford F450 on the same day, drivers are only trained to point the front of the vehicle. Turning left before turning right is an insurance, and is totally unnecessary in trucks and SUVs in most situations. All that one needs to do is pull forward a bit more than usual then crank the wheel hard.

Many years ago when I was first driving, it was very common. I see it a lot less today. In a tight spot, it may help, but frankly That would be rather rare today.

I can’t really say why a specific driver may do it, but I would suspect not many of them have any idea why they do it, and most of those who know, likely have a Bogus reason.

Doubleclutch, I don’t want to argue about the proper terminology, but have you seen the shape of an oldfashioned button hook? There is no way to make follow the shape of a button hook with your truck and stay in your lane. I was taught one term for it and you were taught another. Let’s leave it at that so we don’t have to argue.

When ever I see someone driving a car doing this…it’s because they are taking the turn too fast. If they took it slower they wouldn’t to make the wider turn. People who do this just want to take the turn at 25mph instead of the recommended 10mph.