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

Utah is one of the many states that do not make it illegal to change lanes in an intersection; we were unable to find any statutes on the books.

We would probably want to avoid it either way though, as you can still get a ticket.

To learn more about traffic laws in Utah relating to intersections, and other matters, read on.

Is It Illegal To Change Lanes In An Intersection In Utah? (EXPLAINED)


The contents of this web page are for informational purposes only, and nothing you read is intended to be legal advice. Please review our disclaimer about law/legal-related information on this website before taking action based upon anything you read or see.

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).

Driving on the right side of the roadway is mandated, with exceptions, under statute 41-6a-701:

(1)       On all roadways of sufficient width, a person operating a vehicle shall operate the vehicle on the right half of the roadway, except:

(a)       when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing that movement;

(b)       when an obstruction requires operating the vehicle to the left of the center of the roadway subject to the provisions of Subsection (2);

Source: Utah Traffic Code 41-6a-701

When passing vehicles traveling in opposite directions, statute 41-6a-703 stipulates what it is expected of all drivers:

(1)       In accordance with Section 41-6a-701, a person operating a vehicle proceeding in an opposite direction from another vehicle shall pass the other vehicle to the right.

(2)       On a roadway having width for not more than one line of traffic in each direction, the operator of a vehicle shall, as nearly as possible, give to the other at least 1/2 of the main traveled portion of the roadway.

Source: Utah Traffic Code 41-6a-703

Passing or overtaking another vehicle moving in the same direction is legislated under statute 41-6a-704:

(1) (a)                On any highway:

(i)        the operator of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall:

(A)      except as provided under Section 41-6a-705, promptly pass the overtaken vehicle on the left at a safe distance; and

(B)       enter a right-hand lane or the right side of the roadway only when safely clear of the overtaken vehicle;

(ii)       the operator of an overtaken vehicle:

(A)      shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle; and

(B)       may not increase the speed of the vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

Source: Utah Traffic Code 41-6a-704

Proper signaling when choosing to change lanes, or in preparation for making a turn is clarified in statute 41-6a-804:

(1) (a)                A person may not turn a vehicle, merge into a continuing lane from a lane of travel that is ending, or otherwise move right or left on a roadway or change lanes until:

(i)        the movement can be made with reasonable safety; and

(ii)       an appropriate signal has been given as provided under this section.

(b)       A signal of intention to turn right or left or to change lanes shall be given continuously for at least the last two seconds preceding the beginning of the movement.

Source: Utah Traffic Code 41-6a-804

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

Also, right-of-way at intersections and roadway junctions, and unregulated intersections (no traffic-control device) have detailed legislation. It will be best to read them fully to better understand them.

It is worth pointing out that Utah appears to have a low tolerance for accidents caused by not following proper right-of-way, especially at intersections. So, it’s something to read up on.

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.

In general, moving lanes in an intersection demonstrates poor planning on the part of the driver.

Usually, this should be performed before reaching the intersection to avoid needing to do it later.

But the movement in itself isn’t illegal.

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

There must have been some other violation committed.

Not giving proper right-of-way and almost ending up in an accident would likely get a ticket issued for either ignoring or not fully understanding Utah’s right-of-way laws.

Speeding is easy to catch with modern technology and tickets are quick to issue.

Bad driving behaviors such as unpredictable vehicle movements, inattention to traffic, or being distracted could all play a part.

Even using your cellphone while driving one-handed is going to raise the ire of a law enforcement officer.

What Happens If A Car Accident Results?

A car accident is something to take seriously.

It doesn’t just affect you, but other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians possibly too.

Utah has separate statutes for injuries caused by an accident or property damage, injuries, and possible fatalities. There is also a need to stop at the scene, and report the accident to law enforcement officials.

Any accident including injuries to others or property damage becomes a legal matter.

You might consider conferring with a qualified Utah motor vehicle accident attorney early on, even if you have car insurance.

Wrap Up

Want to learn more about the courts and our justice system?

Browse our free legal library guides for more information.

You might also like:

Is It Illegal To Change Lanes In An Intersection In Utah