No, we haven’t found any on point laws which specifically prohibit drivers from changing lanes in an intersection in Alaska, but in general it is not that safe to do and is not recommended.
In the article that follows, we’ll explain.
Is It Illegal To Change Lanes In An Intersection In Alaska? (EXPLAINED)
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Where Are The Laws That I Can Look To In Order To Confirm Whether Lane Changes In An Intersection In This State Are Legal/Illegal?
We were unable to find a law in Alaska that specifically prohibits lane changes in intersections.
However, we do see a law that specifically states:
A vehicle must be driven as nearly as practicable within a single lane, and may not be moved from that lane until the driver has first ascertained that the movement can be made with safety.13 Alaska Admin. Code § 02.085
Thus, if you were to change a lane in an intersection and something bad results (like a wreck or property damage of some kind), this is a potential law that you have violated and could be charged with violating.
In fact, if you changed lanes in an intersection and didn’t cause a crash, you could still be given a ticket for an unsafe lane change or something similar.
Many people out there in the interwebs will tell you that this has happened to them.
A driver may not change lanes in the roundabout or exit the roundabout until the movement can be made safely.13 Alaska Admin. Code § 02.120
The remainder of the Alaska traffic code is located here and you can check for yourself.
In the end, it appears to be less about the “where” and more about the safety of the driving.
Why Do Some States Make Lane Changes In The Intersection Illegal?
Intersections can be chaotic places.
There’s a lot to watch out for, and a lot you cannot anticipate.
With intersections, people are looking left and right, but taking their eyes off the one direction to see the other.
They make a decision to pull out or make a turn based upon where you were when they last looked, and believe you will continue in the lane of travel you were in as you approached.
Most people also believe that there is a specific law prohibiting lane changes in intersections, and will use that reliance in their decision to take action.
Frankly, for the driver approaching the intersection, it is dangerous to make a lane change in the intersection, and also for hundreds of feet approaching the intersection, especially if you are at highway speeds.
What Happens If I Make A Lane Change In The Intersection and a Crash Results?
The outcome resulting from an intersection lane change crash really depends on the circumstances.
Even if you haven’t broken a specific law, the broad scope of the law about only leaving your lane when you can do so safely leaves room for you to be given a ticket.
Anyone who is hurt (property or physically) can also seek damages from you that result from your unsafe actions.
If you think you are exposed to liability resulting from something that you did while driving, its a good idea to consider contacting a car accident attorney in Alaska to talk through your options.
You might also consider having a chat with your car insurance representative to see if there is anything specific you should do.
Could You Go To Jail For Changing Lanes In An Intersection?
Sure, you can go to jail for changing lanes in an intersection, if the behavior rises to the level of a criminal charge.
In general, traffic tickets are considered “civil infractions” where no jail time can result.
But if you were under the influence of intoxicants, using your cell phone, driving at an excessive speed, or doing someone else similarly unwise, you could face criminal prosecution.
If you think you could be charged in criminal court for your driving, most attorneys would recommend that you consult a criminal defense lawyer in Alaska for state specific advice before you seek out advice from your car insurance company.
The defense lawyer may be able to give you advice about how to avoid making self incriminating statements to individuals or companies that could be compelled to produce those statements via subpoena.
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