Question: Recently, a center turn lane was installed on K-Beach Road in Soldotna. I have seen several near accidents in this area when cars try to use it as a passing lane. Is it legal to use the center turn lane as a passing lane?
Answer: I have received more questions about this topic than anything else, so it must be causing a lot of confusion. No, it is not legal to use the center turn lane as a passing lane, for several reasons. First, the turn lane is outlined in a solid yellow line, and Alaska statute 13AAC 02.075 specifies that a solid yellow line designates a no-passing zone.
Second, the lane is designed for cars that need to get out of the normal flow of traffic so they can slow down and turn left. If you were to try and pass another car in this lane, it is very likely that you would encounter a car that is slowing down to turn, either coming toward you or going away from you. This is likely what is causing the near accidents you have been seeing. 13AAC 02.065 says that when you pass another car on the left, you may not come within 200 feet of an oncoming vehicle.
Anyone who passes in this lane can be cited for passing in a no-passing zone ($60, two points), and anyone who causes an accident or causes someone to avoid an accident by braking, swerving, etc. can be cited for negligent driving (mandatory court appearance, $310 maximum fine, six points).
If you have questions that you would like to ask a trooper, please send them to: Alaska State Troopers, 4060 Heath St., Homer, AK 99603. Or you can e-mail them to Chad_Goeden@dps.state.ak.us. The Alaska State Troopers remind you to always wear your seat belt. It's the law.
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