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

In our research to answer this question, we haven’t been able to find any such law.

However, one would be wise to keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that it is always legal to make this maneuver.

Read on to find out how to change lanes in Iowa safely.

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


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Laws Pertaining to Lane Changes in Iowa

There is a lot of misinformation out there about state traffic laws.

Thanks to DMV materials and various websites claiming to be experts on traffic laws, many people have been misled about what is and is not legal in their state.

The problem with relying on these source materials is that they often use broad data to make their claims and don’t consider that laws can change from state to state.

If you want to know the current laws in your state, you have to go directly to the source and read the laws for yourself.

We will only be pulling information from the Iowa Legislature website in this article.

While it is not illegal to change lanes in the middle of an intersection in this state, other laws may change the legality of your driving choices.

These laws may mean that you end up facing fines or worse.

Iowa State Law code 321.306 specifies that,

1. A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.

Safety for all drivers and pedestrians around your car must be your top priority. If it is unsafe to change lanes, you can quickly find yourself in trouble.

To get a bit more specific: if the intersection you are in has three lanes, and you are trying to make it to the center lane, the Iowa State code 321.306 has something to say about that.

2. If a roadway is divided into three lanes, a vehicle shall not be driven in the center lane except as follows:

a. When overtaking and passing another vehicle where the roadway is clearly visible and such center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance.

b. In preparation for a left turn or where such center lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the direction the vehicle is proceeding and is signposted to give notice of such allocation.


The main thing to keep in mind: be safe. If you’re driving in a manner that keeps your safety and the safety of others as a top priority, you likely will not have to worry about getting a ticket.

Why Might Some States Make It Illegal to Change Lanes in an Intersection?

Though rare, some places might make it illegal to change lanes in the middle of an intersection.

The reason behind this decision is that such an action is not always a safe choice and can endanger the lives of others.

Mid-intersection lane changes may be an indication that a driver is not paying attention.

We’ve all been there; you’ve realized that your exit is coming up, and you need to get into the next lane.

However, poor planning may make it difficult to assess if one can safely change the lane. It is very easy to forget to do a shoulder check to ensure the way is clear.

There are many scenarios in which changing lanes in an intersection could be dangerous for you and others.

Here are just a few examples that show why this might be unsafe:

  • There could be an oncoming left-turning vehicle you’ve not had a chance to spot because your attention has been wrapped up in trying to make that last-minute lane change.
  • That car sitting at the intersection has been waiting to turn right, and he may not have had time to notice you coming towards him because you unexpectedly changed lanes.
  • Waiting until the last minute to make a lane change could result in improper signalling, which can confuse everyone around you, making them unsure of what to expect and impact their ability to make safe choices in their own driving.

What Happens If I Change Lanes in an Intersection and an Accident Takes Place?

The answer to this question depends on how severe the accident is.

A crash between two vehicles that results in minor damage isn’t considered very serious in many cases.

You may receive a fine, but it would be unlikely to face more serious consequences from a legal position.

If the wreck was more severe and led to extensive vehicle damage or injury, or death, you may find yourself facing more serious charges.

Could I Face Jail Time for Changing Lanes in an Intersection?

It would be extremely unlikely to serve time in jail for changing lanes in an intersection.

However, if it has been determined that you were driving recklessly while changing lanes, you might find yourself facing serious criminal charges.

If you were driving while intoxicated, speed racing, or otherwise driving dangerously, you are very likely to find yourself in trouble.

If you are unsure about what possible ramifications you could be facing or what your legal options are after an accident, a lawyer can offer you helpful counsel.

They can explain to you the possibilities that might happen and how you should move forward to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

Wrap Up

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Is It Illegal to Change Lanes in an Intersection in Iowa