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Is It Illegal to Change Lanes in an Intersection in Texas?

overhead view of a 4-way intersection

People often avoid switching lanes in the middle of an intersection because they think it is illegal. Although it is not always illegal, it is discouraged. The practice is generally unsafe since intersections are busy places. There may be pedestrians, turning vehicles, or other drivers who are not paying attention. If you were hit by a car that attempted to change lanes in the middle of an intersection, the driver may be liable.

People who change lanes in an intersection often do so improperly and may not use a signal. It is important to understand traffic lane and intersection rules in Texas.

Understanding Lane Markings and Lane Changes

There are three types of lane markings that you may notice on the road, which include single solid, double solid, and divided lines. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, divided white lines let you know that it is okay to pass or change lanes. You may notice these on highways or freeways. A single white line means that changing lanes or passing is discouraged. If there is a double solid line, passing or changing lanes is prohibited.

When Is It Illegal To Change Lanes Near an Intersection?

In busy intersections with multiple lanes, it is important to pay attention to any road markings. You may see that there are divided lines as you approach the intersection, but they turn into single or double solid lines near a turn lane as you get closer to the traffic signal.

If there is an intersection with a solid double line, and a vehicle changes lanes in mid-intersection, it may be an illegal lane change. In some cases, drivers may try to change lanes to pass another vehicle and may enter a lane that is for traffic traveling in the opposite direction. These are often marked with double solid lines, and it is illegal to cross the center double yellow line on a road, as well as when approaching or going through an intersection.

It is important to follow the DOT’s rules for lane changes based on the lines when approaching a traffic signal. Also, a driver should not leave a turn lane after entering it. For example, if a driver leaves a left turn lane, attempts to go straight instead, and hits another vehicle that is going straight, the driver who left the turn lane is the cause of the accident.

To be safer on the road, it is better to avoid changing lanes in an intersection unless there is an emergency. For instance, if there is an accident in the left lane only a few feet after an intersection, and there are four total lanes on that road, a driver in the left lane may not see the upcoming accident site until reaching the intersection. At that point, the driver must carefully try to enter the right lane and slowly drive past the accident site when it is safe to do so.

Common Causes of Intersection and Lane Change Accidents

These are some of the common reasons why intersection and lane change accidents occur:

  • Driver fatigue or inattention.
  • Sun, fog, rain, or another weather condition limiting visibility.
  • Driving through a red light or turning without a turn light.
  • Attempting to cross multiple lanes at once.
  • Trying to turn across multiple lanes instead of using the correct turn lane.
  • Failing to use a signal when switching lanes.

There are plenty of other potential causes. If you were injured in any type of lane change accident or in a collision in an intersection in Texas, the at-fault driver may be responsible for the cost of your injuries and damages to your vehicle. Our lawyers can help you seek justice.

Working With a Car Accident Lawyer

In every vehicle accident case, a judge will be especially interested in all the details surrounding the accident. It is important to have a police report. If you sustained injuries, it is also important to show that you sought prompt medical care for those. An attorney can examine the police report, your medical records, and the details of the accident. If the other driver was at fault, your attorney will work for the fairest possible settlement on your behalf.

To discuss the details of your case with a law firm that will have your back 100% of the time, please contact Buckingham & Vega Law Firm for a free consultation.

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