Lesson 2: Right of way

There is a driving move that is done by people in a hurry almost everywhere I have been. When a light turns green, if the first guy in line is quick enough, he may make a left turn before the opposing traffic even moves. This is something I have found people to do only when they will not inhibit the movement of the opposing traffic.

This move, while having its place at almost any intersection anywhere, has become a way of life in Pittsburgh. It has even been dubbed the "Pittsburgh Left", and people treat it as though it is not done elsewhere. This "Pittsburgh Left" pride has altered the right of way in Pittsburgh. As a left turner, you are expected to turn in front of opposoing traffic, and may be confronted with road rage if you refuse. As a driver going straight through intersections, you are expected to slow or stop at any time for left turners.

You will find that people will never fault you for turning directly across a line of high speed traffic. They will fault you for not doing this, in some cases.

As you learn the ways of the Pittsburgh left, you may start attempting more advanced left turns. These include unsignaled left turns and random left turns, where you will appear to be going straight but turn last minute in an attempt to throw other drivers off.

It is important to yield to left turners if you are going straight, but there are cars that have the right of way even over left turners. If you are stopped in the middle of the intersection, the left turner must yield to you. As we will study in depth, gridlock is never discouraged in Pittsburgh, and gridlockers always have the right of way.

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