Dear Cop - Changing Lanes

Please explain the rules re: changing lanes in or near intersections. People changing lanes just as they approach intersections to avoid potential delays of a left turning vehicle have more than once surprised me when I have checked traffic and determined it safe to make a right turn onto a two lane roadway. I have started the turn and been startled to find a car in that lane when checking a second time.

This is a common problem with the impatient driver who make driving on the roadways a guessing game. The unfortunate event that comes from maneuvers such as the one you have written about is a vehicle collision. The onus is always on the vehicle which is trying to enter the roadway to do so in a safe manner. It is always safer to ascertain that any vehicle approaching an intersection with the right of way has cleared the intersection. When in doubt, wait.

Entering through highway
Section 175 (1) of the Motor Vehicle Act indicates that if a vehicle that is about to enter a through highway has stopped in compliance with section 186,
(a) the driver of the vehicle must yield the right of way to traffic that has entered the intersection on the through highway or is approaching so closely on it that it constitutes an immediate hazard, and
(b) having yielded, the driver may proceed with caution.
(2) If a vehicle is entering a through highway in compliance with subsection (1), traffic approaching the intersection on the highway must yield the right of way to the entering vehicle while it is proceeding into or across the highway.

I would like to remind all drivers the rules of the roadway in regards to changing lanes.

Driving on laned roadway
Section 151 of the Motor Vehicle Act indicates that a driver who is driving a vehicle on a laned roadway
(a) must not drive it from one lane to another when a broken line only exists between the lanes, unless the driver has ascertained that movement can be made with safety and will in no way affect the travel of another vehicle.

Constable R.A.(Richard) ASELTON
Central Okanagan Traffic Services - Media Liaison
Kelowna R.C.M.P. Detachment

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

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