Is It Illegal To Change Lanes In An Intersection In North Dakota?

No, we did not find any statutes which state that changing lanes in an intersection in North Dakota is illegal.

We think it is still a good idea to not do it for safety reasons, and you can still get a ticket if you do so (for other reasons).

This article provides our findings on traffic laws in North Dakota for intersections, passing and overtaking, and more.

Is It Illegal To Change Lanes In An Intersection In North Dakota? (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?

The best place to look to confirm whether a maneuver is legal (or not) is the current and applicable laws of the state you are present in (not the DMV handbook or a news article).

As a good starting point, North Dakota Century Code § 39-10-30 provides that:

Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter or the provisions of any local ordinance, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any confused, incapacitated, or intoxicated person.

Source: North Dakota Century Code § 39-10-30

Approaches to an intersection or when entering onto one is legislated under statute § 39-10-22:

1. If a vehicle approaches or enters an intersection that does not have an official traffic-control device and another vehicle approaches or enters from a different highway at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right. If the intersection is T-shaped and does not have an official traffic-control device, the driver of the vehicle on the terminating street or highway shall yield to the vehicle on the continuing street or highway.

Source: North Dakota Century Code § 39-10-22

Movements on or off an intersection, such as slowing down before turning, changing lanes, and other actions are legislated under statute § 39-10-38:

1. No person may turn a vehicle, move right or left upon a roadway, or merge into or from traffic unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety without giving an appropriate signal in the manner hereinafter provided.

2. A signal of intention to turn, move right or left, or merge into or from traffic must be given continuously during not less than the last one hundred feet [30.48 meters] traveled by the vehicle before turning, moving right or left, or changing lanes.

3. No person may stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle without first giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided herein to the driver of any vehicle immediately to the rear when there is opportunity to give such signal.

Source: North Dakota Century Code § 39-10-38

Overtaking is covered too. Below is part of the statute § 39-10-11 for overtaking on the left side:

The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance and may not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.

Source: North Dakota Century Code § 39-10-11

Neither changing lanes nor overtaking at an intersection was found to be prohibited, as long as it is conducted safely.

Why Do People Generally Think That It’s Illegal To Change Lanes In An Intersection?

It is pretty common to be taught that you should not change lanes in intersections while learning to drive.

The assumption is often made that the reason is that there’s a law prohibiting it, when in fact, it is just a bad idea.

In North Dakota, it isn’t illegal to change lanes in an intersection.

Though driving safely with due care for others is part of the law there.

So, It’s Not Yet Illegal In North Dakota To Change Lanes In An Intersection. Why Did I Get A Ticket?

Tickets can be issued by police officers because they didn’t like the driving technique and felt it was putting other drivers or possibly pedestrians in danger.

It can also be for something a little more minor like signaling too late before turning, allowing inadequate time for other drivers to prepare.

Erratic driving or a driving technique that looked this way to an observer may cause you to be pulled over.

What Happens If A Car Accident Results?

Car accidents can seemingly unfold in slow motion.

This can mean that even defensive driving wasn’t enough to avoid a fender bender.

When unfortunate things happen, blame spreads around like bad news.

With a car accident, it is all too easy to get on the wrong end of an accusation.

If the accident involved a high rate of speed, the use of a cell phone (or other distraction), or intoxicants, it would make sense to seek out the early advice of an experienced North Dakota criminal defense attorney.

It’s important to be realistic early about a car accident you’re involved in, especially if it could be construed as partly your fault.

Should anyone have been injured because of it, you may also want to with a North Dakota motor vehicle accident attorney.

They have experience in this area that you don’t. That’s what you need to rely on.

Wrap Up

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Is It Illegal To Change Lanes In An Intersection In North Dakota