Is It Illegal To Change Lanes In An Intersection In South Carolina?

After research, we were unable to discover a statute that makes it illegal to change lanes in an intersection in South Carolina.

We advise avoiding making this type of lane change because there is already a lot going on inside an intersection, and you can receive a ticket on other grounds.

Read on to learn about the traffic laws that relate to intersections and other driving rules.

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

The approach and entry into an intersection are legislated in South Carolina using statute SC Code § 56-5-2310 (2020):

(a) When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different highways 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.

Source: South Carolina Code § 56-5-2310 (2020)

The subject of signaling, preparing to turn, and proceeding with a turn is legislated in statute SC Code § 56-5-2150 (2020):

(A) No person shall turn a vehicle or move right or left upon a roadway unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety nor without giving an appropriate signal as provided for in this section.

(B) A signal of intention to turn or move right or left when required shall be given continuously during not less than the last one hundred feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.

(C) No person shall 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: South Carolina Code § 56-5-2150 (2020)

The procedure to follow when executing a right turn and staying within the law is covered under the statute § 56-5-2120:

(a) Right turns. Both the approach for a right turn and a right turn shall be made as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

And left turns too:

(b) Left turns. The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left shall approach the turn in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of such vehicle. Whenever practicable the left turn shall be made to the left of the center of the intersection so as to leave the intersection or other location in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction as the vehicle on the roadway being entered.

Source: South Carolina Code § 56-5-2120 (2020)

Turning left at an intersection, and when to yield for a right-of-way is relevant too. This is covered under SC Code § 56-5-2320 (2020):

The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.

Source: South Carolina Code § 56-5-2320 (2020)

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.

Lane changes in an intersection are legal in South Carolina.

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

Receiving a traffic ticket is seen as a failure by some drivers and a rite of passage by late teens who wish to see what their first car or truck can do.

Usually, a peace officer is observing the behavior of drivers on the road. When they spot something of concern, they may pull a driver over to see what’s up?

In your case, the issue might have been something obvious like poor signaling, weaving on the road, hitting the curb, or going over the limit.

However, it won’t be because of changing lanes in an intersection, specifically. Yet, an unsound lane change that put other drivers in danger would do it.

What Happens If A Car Accident Results?

It is sometimes difficult to appreciate whose fault a car accident is. Even with dashcam footage and eyewitnesses, various versions of events exist.

Nevertheless, an accident may mean questions must be answered and even a field sobriety test administered too.

A wanton disregard for public safety raises the prospect of accusations of reckless driving should an accident lead to another person’s bodily harm or major property damage.

Repeated instances of this behavior within three years of a first instance are even more legally problematic.

There may be a need to confer with a South Carolina motor vehicle accident attorney, even if you have insurance.

Wrap Up

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Is It Illegal To Change Lanes In An Intersection In South Carolina