No, lane changes in an intersection in Vermont are not illegal; we were unable to find any statutes on the books.
However, the action does put yourself and any passengers at added risk.
Read on to better understand relevant traffic laws in the state.
Is It Illegal To Change Lanes In An Intersection In Vermont? (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).
When your vehicle is approaching an intersection, or just about to enter it, Vermont statute 23 V.S.A. § 1046 is relevant:
(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.
(b) The right-of-way rule declared in subsection (a) of this section is modified at through highways as otherwise provided in this chapter and as follows:
(1) Whenever enforcement officers are present they have the full power to regulate traffic.
(2) Operators shall approach and enter intersecting highways slowly, with due care to avoid crashes.
Source: Vermont 23 V.S.A. § 1046
Making turns at an intersection is legislated under statute 23 V.S.A. § 1061.
It begins with a right turn:
- Right turn. 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.
Performing a left turn on a two-way roadway is covered under point 2:
(2) Left turns on two-way roadways. At any intersection where traffic is permitted to move in both directions on each roadway entering the intersection, an approach for a left turn shall be made in that portion of the right half of the roadway nearest the centerline thereof and by passing to the right of such centerline where it enters the intersection and after entering the intersection the left turn shall be made so as to leave the intersection to the right of the centerline of the roadway being entered. Whenever practicable the left turn shall be made in that portion of the intersection to the left of the center of the intersection.
Source: Vermont 23 V.S.A. § 1061
Right-of-way and the need to yield when making a left turn at an intersection is covered under statute 23 V.S.A. § 1047:
(a) 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 that is either within the intersection or so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
(b) A person operating a vehicle shall not turn left unless the turn can be made at a safe distance from a vulnerable user.
Source: Vermont 23 V.S.A. § 1047
Passing vehicles on a roadway when traffic is flowing in both directions is covered under statute 23 V.S.A. § 1032:
Drivers of vehicles proceeding in opposite directions shall pass each other to the right, and upon roadways having width for not more than one line of traffic in each direction, each driver shall give to the other at least one-half of the main-traveled portion of the roadway as nearly as possible.
Source: Vermont 23 V.S.A. § 1032
Lastly, there is a provision for no-passing zones to be created, via statute 23 V.S.A. § 1036:
(a) The Traffic Committee is authorized to determine those portions of any highway under its jurisdiction where overtaking and passing or driving on the left side of the roadway would be especially hazardous and may, by appropriate signs indicate the beginning and end of the zones, and when the signs are in place and clearly visible to an ordinarily observant person, every driver of a vehicle shall obey the directions.
(b) Where signs are in place to define a no-passing zone as set forth in subsection (a) of this section, no driver shall at any time drive to the left of the center of the roadway within the no-passing zone.
Source: Vermont 23 V.S.A. § 1036
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 a misconception that changing lanes in an intersection is illegal.
Mostly, this seems to come from people who have formed this belief over time.
It is pretty common to be taught that you should not change lanes in intersections while learning to drive.
Nevertheless, it isn’t the case presently.
So, If It Is Not Illegal In Vermont To Change Lanes In An Intersection, Why Did I Get A Ticket?
While changing lanes in an intersection may not have directly been the cause, it could be due to other reasons.
Changing lanes unsafely, such as through poor adherence to lane markings or a sudden deceleration without warning, could have made the maneuver questionable.
Driving too closely to another vehicle is a bad practice and won’t be tolerated either. There is a statute relating to this in many states across the country.
Otherwise, it may be necessary to seek clarification to better understand the reason behind the ticket issuance.
What Happens If A Car Accident Results?
Traffic accidents bring on a world of pain.
Not just physically and financially, but legally too.
Injuries caused by an accident can lead to threats of lawsuits and law enforcement taking a closer look at the cause(s) too.
The services of a motor vehicle accident attorney might eventually be required even if you do your best to avoid it.
They can steer you right and provide advice based on their years of experience in similar matters.
Want to learn more about the courts and our justice system?
Browse our free legal library guides for more information.
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