Is It Illegal To Change Lanes In An Intersection In Oregon?

We did a search, but no statutes were discovered making it illegal in Oregon to change lanes in an intersection.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s a best practice when it comes to safe driving, and the maneuver can still produce a traffic ticket.

Our article goes into detail about relevant traffic laws in Oregon to know about. 

Is It Illegal To Change Lanes In An Intersection In Oregon? (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).

Oregon broadly covers a driver’s responsibilities for care for other vehicles and occupants and pedestrians:

Duty to exercise due care. None of the provisions of the vehicle code relieve a pedestrian from the duty to exercise due care or relieve a driver from the duty to exercise due care concerning pedestrians. [1983 c.338 §543]

Safe distance rules are laid out in statute 811.147, including when and how to make lane changes:

(1) A person operating a motor vehicle commits the offense of failure to maintain a safe distance from a motor vehicle if the person approaches a motor vehicle that is stopped and is displaying required warning lights or hazard lights, or a person is indicating distress by using emergency flares or posting emergency signs, and the person operating the motor vehicle:

      (a) On a highway having two or more lanes for traffic in a single direction, fails to:

      (A) Make a lane change to a lane not adjacent to that of the stopped motor vehicle…

An uncontrolled intersection and not yielding right-of-way is legislated under Oregon Traffic Code 811.275:

(1) A person commits the offense of failure to yield the right of way at an uncontrolled intersection if the person is operating a motor vehicle that is approaching an uncontrolled highway intersection and the person does not look out for and give right of way to any driver on the right simultaneously approaching a given point, regardless of which driver first reaches and enters the intersection.

Basic stipulations with vehicles going in opposite directions include the following from statute 811.300:

1) A person commits the offense of failure to drive on the right of an approaching vehicle if the person is operating a vehicle upon a roadway having width for not more than one lane of traffic in each direction and the person does not:

      (a) Pass to the right of any other vehicle proceeding on the roadway in the opposite direction; and

      (b) Give to the other at least one-half of the main traveled portion of the roadway as nearly as possible.

The Oregon Rules of the Road driving laws can be found here.

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.

It is possible to change lanes while traversing an intersection. Some people do it. But it’s less than optimal.

Oregon hasn’t made it illegal, despite what you might believe.

It’s more about how safely you changed lanes, and what you did before and after that’s more relevant.

This determines the degree of potential illegality.

If It Is Not Illegal In Oregon To Change Lanes In An Intersection, Why Did I Get A Ticket?

There are many ways to get a ticket for your driving in Oregon.

A fair number of Rules of the Road laws are on the books. So, it’s good to know what you can and cannot do to avoid running afoul of state laws.

Changing lanes inappropriately by moving into the wrong lane, changing speed suddenly, or a failure to signal would all be cause for being ticketed.

Other issues such as the aforementioned failure to yield can appear dangerous with the potential to cause an accident.

This would also break one or more statutes and potentially lead to a ticket.

What Happens If A Car Accident Results?

There are statutes in Oregon for careless driving and one for vehicle assault too.

If you get into an accident, especially in an intersection, it could be raised as a potential issue.

Interpretation of an accident scene, factual differences in witness statements, and even dashcam footage doesn’t always tell the complete story.

Therefore, you can be accused or blamed due to confusion over what happened.

Do not discount that you may need the advice of an Oregon motor vehicle accident attorney.

This is especially the case if your crash involved intoxicants, high speed, or distracted driving.

This is even the case if you have insurance.

Wrap Up

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Is It Illegal To Change Lanes In An Intersection In Oregon