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Texas Traffic Laws (and good driving habits)

This page last updated May 19, 2014

We've all seen it.  And, from what I've seen, we've probably all done it, too.  The "it" I'm referring to is bad driving.  Unfortunately, more and more, I think the offender knows what they're doing is wrong and just thinks the rules don't apply to them.  However, in many cases, the bad driver probably isn't even aware that they're doing anything wrong through either ignorance of the law or just not paying attention and would likely alter their behavior if they knew the problems they were causing.  That is the intention of this page.

After more than two decades of driving the streets and freeways of Texas on a regular basis, I have compiled a list of what I consider to be the most-violated traffic laws and good driving practices.  Hopefully, enough people will read this and modify their driving accordingly resulting in a safer and more pleasant driving experience for all of us.

Whenever applicable, I've quoted the Texas Transportation Code.  Those references are in a grey box and start with the section number (e.g. §545.066.)  Wherever you see the term "operator" in the law, it is referring to you, the operator of a motor vehicle.  After each citation, I've included my own comments to better explain or clarify the law.

If you want to look up the the laws yourself, you can do so at http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/?link=TN.  Almost everything pertaining to traffic laws is in Sections 544 and 545.  The Texas Department of Public Safety's Driver's Manual is also online at http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/documents/DL-7.pdf.  The Texas Manual of Uniform Traffic Devices, which is the official "law" regarding the meaning of traffic signs, signals, and markings, is at http://www.dot.state.tx.us/txdot_library/publications/tmutcd.htm.

In addition to the little-known laws, I've also included several good driving habits that I've learned over the years driving and observing all over the US and Europe.  I believe that if more people adopted these habits, traffic flow and safety would be greatly improved.

One thing you should remember-- aggressive, arrogant, dangerous, or just plain bad driving can get you killed.  Besides the obvious risk from getting killed in a wreck that such driving often causes, your actions may cause other drivers to become angry or even enraged, the phenomena known as "road rage."  Someday you may cut someone off or zip by somebody on the shoulder and that person may lose it and shoot you.  So be cool and "drive friendly"-- it could very well save your life.

Editorial
Many of you find this site after getting a ticket or being involved in an accident.  Oftentimes, you've been cited with something you hadn't heard of before or you dispute the allegation.  You may or may not find the answer here.  If not, I encourage you to continue your search.  In the end, you may find that the citation is valid.  If that's the case, then pay your fine and consider it a learning experience.  However, I have gotten letters from many folks that clearly indicate to me that sometimes even the police don't always know the law, so it's perfectly reasonable to double-check.  Also, in my own humble opinion, traffic enforcement (especially speed enforcement) in many places is done simply for revenue enhancement, and officers may get overzealous and sloppy in their duties as a result.

Your comments and suggestions are welcome.  We are all in this together.  You can reach me using the "contact" link at the top of the page.


Legal disclaimers

LONG VERSION
The information on this page is provided for informational purposes only.  The author, his agents, and/or sponsors (herein collectively referred to as "the author") do not offer, nor do they imply that they intend to offer, legal advice or counseling to any individual or organization by providing this information.  You should not rely or act upon any information contained herein for any purpose without seeking legal advice from a duly licensed attorney competent to practice law in your jurisdiction.

The information provided on this website is provided on an "as-is" basis without warranties of any kind either express or implied.  The author makes no warranties or representations of any kind concerning any information contained in this website.  This website is provided only as general information.  The author expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based upon the information contained herein or with respect to any errors or omissions in such information.

Links to official sources of information elsewhere on the Internet are provided for reference, but the author makes no representations or warranty of any kind as to the accuracy or any other aspect of the information contained on such Internet sites and specifically disclaims any and all liability for any claims or damages that may result from information on those Internet sites.

SHORT VERSION
If you need legal advice, get a lawyer as I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV.  I try to keep my site up-to-date but I can't guarantee that something hasn't changed since the last time I checked.  I don't rule the world, so I can't control or vouch for the accuracy of what's on other websites that I may suggest to you here.  Be sure to eat at least five servings of vegetables and drink eight glasses of water every day.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Drive safely.  Live long and prosper.


Listing of topics

Below is a list of topics on this site.  I have grouped the topics based on what I consider to be traits of "basic", "intermediate", and "advanced" drivers; your mileage may vary.

Basic: These are things all drivers should know.  If you miss any of these, you should go back and read the DPS driver's manual (link at the bottom of this page.)

Intermediate: If you consider yourself a “good” driver, then you really should know these.

Advanced: These are things a sophisticated driver will know.

Miscellaneous: Other topics I have had lots of questions about.



Lane markings
 

The officially-sanctioned meaning for lane markings is not in the Transportation Code.  Instead, §544.001 requires the state to maintain an official manual of signs, signals, and markings.  This manual, the Texas Uniform Manual of Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), is the "law" when it comes to all traffic control devices, including lane markings.  The meanings of these devices, as defined in the MUTCD, is enforceable.

It seems that many people have no idea what the various lane markings mean; lots of folks don't even know what the difference is between white and yellow lines.  So, without further ado, here are the definitions of lane markings in Texas:

YELLOW LINES: Traffic going opposite directions is separated by yellow lines.  If you're to the left of a yellow line, and you're not intentionally passing somebody, you'd better get over to the right FAST before you see the head ornament of a Mack truck directly in front of you.  I see this confusion happen a lot when city folks get off on a rural, two-way frontage road.  There are various types of yellow lines; see below for the specifics of each.
WHITE LINES: These separate traffic going the same direction.  There are several varieties of white lines; see below for the meanings of each.
SOLID DOUBLE YELLOW LINES: Double yellow lines indicate that passing is not permitted (in other words, a "no passing zone".)  Even if you think you can see far enough ahead, there may be some other obstacle or reason that you can't see that makes it unsafe for you to pass.  However, it is legal to turn left across a double yellow line (with one exception; see sidebar below.)
SINGLE SOLID YELLOW LINE: This is used to mark the left edge of the roadway on a divided highway.  The use of this marking to mark the center of a two-way road is non-standard and has no official meaning.
SOLID YELLOW LINE ON YOUR SIDE, BROKEN YELLOW LINE ON THE OTHER: You may not pass when there is a solid yellow line on your side.  Traffic on the side of the road with the broken (dashed) line is allowed to pass.  Two sets of these, with the broken lines facing each other, are used to demark two-way center left turn lanes.
BROKEN YELLOW LINE: A single broken (dashed) yellow line means that passing is permitted in both directions.
BROKEN DOUBLE YELLOW LINES: This marking is fairly rare and is used to separate reversible lanes. Pay attention to and obey the lane control signs or signals.
DOUBLE WHITE LINES: Parallel white lines indicate that changing lanes or turning across the lines is prohibited.  Doing so may be dangerous or interrupt the smooth flow of traffic.
SINGLE SOLID WHITE LINE: This is used to channelize traffic and indicates that changing lanes is discouraged, although not specifically prohibited.  You can cross it if you have to, but you should avoid it if possible.  Even a thick single white line can be crossed if necessary; however, they are really discouraging you from crossing, so you might think twice about it.  A single white line is also used simply to mark the right edge of the roadway.
BROKEN WHITE LINE: A broken (dashed) white line separates lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction.


TURNING LEFT OVER DOUBLE-YELLOW LINES

One of the biggest misconceptions over lane markings is the meaning of the double-yellow line with regards to left turns.  A double-yellow line simply means "no passing"; it does not prohibit left turns.  In fact, you are specifically permitted by statute to turn left over double yellow lines:

§545.055.  PASSING TO THE LEFT:  PASSING ZONES
(b)  An operator may not drive on the left side of the roadway in a no-passing zone or on the left side of any pavement striping designed to mark a no-passing zone.  This subsection does not prohibit a driver from crossing pavement striping, or the center line in a no-passing zone marked by signs only, to make a left turn into or out of an alley or private road or driveway.

Additional information
There is an exception to the above rule: if there are two sets of double-yellow lines, you may not cross over at all, including for left turns.  These areas are defined as
"flush median islands" in the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.  As such, they have the same purpose and function as a physical traffic island and are legally enforceable as a "dividing space" for the purposes of §545.063(b) (see below.)  These areas often also have diagonal hash markings to help emphasize that they're off-limits.





Flashing yellow signals
 

§544.008.  FLASHING SIGNALS
(a) The operator of a vehicle facing a flashing red signal shall stop at a clearly marked stop line.  In the absence of a stop line, the operator shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection.  In the absence of a crosswalk, the operator shall stop at the place nearest the intersecting roadway where the operator has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway.  The right to proceed is subject to the rules applicable after stopping at a stop sign.
(b) The operator of a vehicle facing a flashing yellow signal may proceed through an intersection or past the signal only with caution.
(c) This section does not apply at a railroad crossing. 

I added this section because a lot of motorists seem to be confused about the meaning of a flashing yellow signal, particularly when a regular traffic signal (red-yellow-green) is flashing yellow.  A flashing yellow signal simply means "proceed with caution", even when it's being displayed by regular traffic signal.  Most traffic signals will switch to a flash mode as a fail-safe measure if there has been a malfunction or power outage and the signal has not been reset.  Some signals also go to flash-mode during periods of low traffic.  Unbelievably, I often see people actually stop when they come upon a regular traffic signal that is flashing yellow.  This is unnecessary and a bit dangerous because the person behind you is probably not expecting you to stop.  It would be the same as you stopping at a green light.  You only need to stop if it is a flashing red signal; in those cases, treat the signal like you would a stop sign.
 



Traffic signals out
 

§544.007.  TRAFFIC-CONTROL SIGNALS IN GENERAL
(i) An operator of a vehicle facing a traffic-control signal that does not display an indication in any of the signal heads shall stop ... as if the intersection had a stop sign.

Believe it or not, this law was only enacted in 2003.  Before that, there was no specific law on this subject.  But now there is-- if a traffic signal is out of order (that is, all of the lights are dark), then the intersection reverts to a four-way stop.  Period.  Common sense also dictates that if the signals are otherwise obviously malfunctioning (e.g. two colors on at the same time), treat the intersection as a four-way stop as well.
 



Stopping for school buses
 
 
§545.066 - PASSING A SCHOOL BUS; OFFENSE
(a) An operator on a highway, when approaching from either direction a school bus stopped on the highway to receive or discharge a student:
(1) shall stop before reaching the school bus when the bus is operating a visual signal as required by Section 547.701; and
(2) may not proceed until:
(A) the school bus resumes motion;
(B) the operator is signaled by the bus driver to proceed; or
(C) the visual signal is no longer actuated.
(b) An operator on a highway having separate roadways is not required to stop:
(1) for a school bus that is on a different roadway; or
(2) if on a controlled-access highway, for a school bus that is stopped:
(A) in a loading zone that is a part of or adjacent to the highway; and
(B) where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway.
 
[...]
 
(f) For the purposes of this section:
(1) a highway is considered to have separate roadways only if the highway has roadways separated by an intervening space on which operation of vehicles is not permitted, a physical barrier, or a clearly indicated dividing section constructed to impede vehicular traffic; and
(2) a highway is not considered to have separate roadways if the highway has roadways separated only by a left turn lane.

This was the most requested addition to my page before I added it.  It seems many drivers are confused or simply have no clue about the requirement to stop for school buses.  When a school bus has stopped and its red alternating lights are flashing, you must stop.  Most school buses also have a stop sign on the side near the driver that swings out to remind you of your duty to stop.  Traffic heading in both directions is required to stop and the requirement to stop applies in both urban as well as rural areas.  The only exception is if there is a median, island, or divider between you and the school bus; in those cases, you can proceed, but I recommend that you do so cautiously in case any kiddos are crossing carelessly.  Note that the law specifically indicates that a left turn lane does not count as a divider.  This means that even on a seven lane street (three lanes in each direction plus a center turn lane), traffic in all seven lanes must stop for a school busAlso, if you are not on the same street as the bus but on an intersecting street, you may also proceed (with caution, of course.)  And there is an exception when a bus is stopped in a loading zone on a controlled-access highway, but I have never actually seen one of these.  

Once you have stopped, you are required to remain stopped until the lights stop flashing, the bus has started moving again, or the driver waves you to move on.

Note that in Texas traffic code, the term "highway" is defined to mean any public roadway, including city streets.  (§541.302)

Additional information
School buses are required by law to stop at all railroad crossings.  When they do this, they usually switch on their hazard flashers to warn traffic behind them of the impending stop.  You are not required to stop for the bus in this case.  You are only legally bound to stop when the alternating red lights at the top of the bus are flashing.  It should also be noted that occasionally when discharging or boarding passengers, the driver may determine that there is not a need to stop traffic and will only activate the bus' hazard flashers.  Again, in this case, you are not required to stop.  Finally, many school buses also have yellow alternating lights next to the red ones; these are used to warn drivers that the bus is about to stop.  You are not required to stop when the yellow flashers are on, but you should be prepared to stop.  Essentially, they have the same meaning as the yellow traffic signal-- a warning that the the red lights will come on shortly.


 



Yielding to and passing emergency vehicles

 

§545.156 - VEHICLE APPROACHED BY AUTHORIZED EMERGENCY VEHICLE
(a) On the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle using audible and visual signals..., or of a police vehicle lawfully using only an audible signal, an operator, unless otherwise directed by a police officer, shall:
(1) yield the right-of-way;
(2) immediately drive to a position parallel to and as close as possible to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection; and
(3) stop and remain standing until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed.
(b) This section does not exempt the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.

§545.157 - PASSING AUTHORIZED EMERGENCY VEHICLE

(a) On approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle using visual signals that meet the requirements of Sections 547.305 and 547.702, an operator, unless otherwise directed by a police officer, shall:
(1) vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle when driving on a highway with two or more lanes traveling in the direction of the emergency vehicle; or
(2) slow to a speed not to exceed:
(A) 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or more; or
(B) five miles per hour when the posted speed limit is less than 25 miles per hour.
(b) A violation of this section is:
(1) a misdemeanor punishable under Section 542.401;
(2) a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 if the violation results in property damage; or
(3) a Class B misdemeanor if the violation results in bodily injury.
(c) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code or the Penal Code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or under both sections.

The purpose of the first law obviously is to give emergency vehicles a clear path, and the reason they need that right-of-way is also obvious.  Think of it like this: if you or a loved-one needed help and called 911, wouldn't you want everyone to make way for those emergency vehicles?

As the law says, you are required to pull-over to the right-hand side of the road and stop.  This law applies no matter which direction you are traveling relative to the emergency vehicle.  Also, needless to say, emergency vehicles have automatic right-of-way at all intersections, even if you otherwise have the right-of-way (see "Look Before Crossing Intersections" below).

The second law is fairly new (passed in 2003) and requires drivers who are approaching an emergency vehicle stopped on the road with their emergency lights flashing to do one of two things: move out of the lane nearest the emergency vehicle or slow down to 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit (down to a minimum of 5 mph).  In other words, if you're going down the freeway in the right lane and there's an emergency vehicle parked on the right shoulder ahead, you should immediately move into the next lane to the left.  If you can't, or if you're on a road where there is no extra lane to move over to, then you must slow down to 20 mph below the posted limit.  The purpose of this law is to give emergency workers a safe area to work in when they're on or near the road.

Additional information
If you're stopped at the head of the line at a red light and an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing and siren sounding is behind you and can't get through or around the traffic, then you should first try to make room for them if at all possible by scooting over.  If that is not possible, then you should consider running the red.  The law does not specifically require or allow this, but common sense and the spirit of the law dictate that the right-of-way of the emergency vehicle takes priority over the traffic signals.  Before you go through the red, though, make sure it is absolutely safe to do so.  In most cases, cross traffic will see your predicament and stop, but if not, nudge slightly into the intersection as a signal to other drivers but wait until it is safe before you cross.  Then, go through the intersection, pull over and stop.  A safer alternative would be to turn right, but again, only when it is clear to do so.
 



Parking in front of fire hydrants
 
 
§545.302 - STOPPING, STANDING, OR PARKING PROHIBITED IN CERTAIN PLACES
(b) An operator may not, except momentarily to pick up or discharge a passenger, stand or park an occupied or unoccupied vehicle:
(2) within 15 feet of a fire hydrant;

You'd think most people would have enough common sense to know not to park in front of a fire hydrant, but I see it done all the time.  In case of a fire, the fire department needs to be able to find and access hydrants quickly.  If you're parked in front of it, it obstructs them and delays their response to a fire.  Would you want someone blocking the fire hydrant nearest your home if it were on fire?  (Footnote: Remember the scene in Backdraft where the firefighters break the windows of a car parked in front of a hydrant and run the hose through the car?  Apparently, from the photo below, it happens in real life as well.)

Don't let this be you!
 



Driving with parking lights only
 
 
§547.302 - DUTY TO DISPLAY LIGHTS
(a) A vehicle shall display each lighted lamp and illuminating device required by this chapter to be on the vehicle:
(1) at nighttime; and
(2) when light is insufficient or atmospheric conditions are unfavorable so that a person or vehicle on the highway is not clearly discernible at a distance of 1,000 feet ahead.

I get rather annoyed when I see people driving around in the dark or in bad weather with just their parking lights on.  There's a reason they're called parking lights.  First, let's talk about the law in this situation.  The law requires you to use all your lights (including headlights) at nighttime, which is defined as being one half hour after sunset to one half hour before sunrise, as well as anytime when you cannot see clearly for 1,000 feet, which essentially covers all inclement weather as well as dusk and dawn.  Therefore, you should never be driving with just your parking lights on.  If you're in a situation where you need to have any lights on at all, then you must use your headlights. 

Some people will say that they don't want to use their headlights during bad weather or at dusk because there's enough ambient light for them to see and their headlights won't be illuminating anything.  Good drivers know, however, that headlights are not only for lighting-up the road ahead, but also they make you more visible to other drivers.  This is why motorcycles and emergency vehicles use their headlights, and is also the rationale behind daytime running lamps*.  So whenever visibility is reduced, you should use your headlights, if not to help you see but to help others see you.

Others may argue that using their headlights puts a strain on their electrical system or battery.  This is simply not true.  Your vehicle's electrical system is designed to operate all of the vehicle's electrical devices, including the headlights.  Your battery is only used to start your car and to power electrical devices in the car when the engine is not running.  When your engine is running, the alternator, which is cranked by the engine, is providing power to your vehicle as well as recharging your battery.  If using your headlights does indeed cause electrical problems for your car, then your car needs repair.

Additional information
Note that parking lights are not the same as Daytime Running LampsParking lights are when you can activate the front and rear marker lights without turning-on the headlights (see the photo below for an example.)  These are meant to make your vehicle more visible while it is parked on the side of the road, thus the term "parking lights".  For vehicles that have them, there is typically an third setting or position on the headlight switch-- position 0 is off, position 1 is the parking lights, and position 2 is the headlights.  However, parking lights are somewhat obsolete nowadays and most (if not all) recent model vehicles in the United States are no longer equipped with them.  Daytime running lamps are essentially the opposite of parking lights-- they're the headlights illuminated with the front and rear marker lights off (although some vehicles now have a separate set of lamps for the DRLs) and are generally automatically controlled.  Wikipedia has a good write-up on the differences here.
 

Parking lights
 



Turn signals in turn-only lane
 
 
§545.104 - SIGNALING TURNS; USE OF TURN SIGNALS
(a) An operator shall use the signal authorized by Section 545.106 to indicate an intention to turn, change lanes, or start from a parked position.
(b) An operator intending to turn a vehicle right or left shall signal continuously for not less than the last 100 feet of movement of the vehicle before the turn.
(c) An operator may not light the signals on only one side of the vehicle on a parked or disabled vehicle or use the signals as a courtesy or "do pass" signal to the operator of another vehicle approaching from the rear.

There seems to be a rather common misconception that if you are in a turn-only lane, you are not obliged to signal your turn.  As you can see, however, the law is quite straightforward-- you must use a turn signal any time you want to turn or change lanes.  There is no exception for turn-only lanes.  The reason is simple: while it may be obvious to you that you are in a turn-only lane, it may not be evident to motorists or pedestrians across the intersection or on the intersecting road.  Using your turn-signal clearly indicates to everyone that are are going to turn.
 



Turning from and into the correct lane
 
 
§545.101 - TURNING AT INTERSECTION
(a) To make a right turn at an intersection, an operator shall make both the approach and the turn as closely as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.
(b) To make a left turn at an intersection, an operator shall:
(1) approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to a vehicle moving in the direction of the vehicle; and
(2) after entering the intersection, turn left, leaving the intersection so as to arrive in a lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of the vehicle on the roadway being entered.
(c) On a street or roadway designated for two-way traffic, the operator turning left shall, to the extent practicable, turn in the portion of the intersection to the left of the center of the intersection.
(d) To turn left, an operator who is approaching an intersection having a roadway designated for one-way traffic and for which signs are posted from a roadway designated for one-way traffic and for which signs are posted shall make the turn as closely as practicable to the left-hand curb or edge of the roadway.
(e) The Texas Transportation Commission or a local authority, with respect to a highway in its jurisdiction, may:
(1) authorize the placement of an official traffic-control device in or adjacent to an intersection; and
(2) require a course different from that specified in this section for movement by vehicles turning at an intersection.

 

Imagine you are on a street approaching an intersection and there are four lanes to the right of the center marked like the illustration above.  Recently, I have seen an increasing number of people turn left from lane B and/or turn right from lane C.  Wrong!  Unless there are signs and/or lane markings indicating otherwise, the law only allows you to turn left from the far left lane or to turn right from the far right lane; when there are dedicated turn lanes, such as in the example above, those lanes fulfill those roles.  If you're in lanes B or C above, you are only permitted to go straight.  If lanes A and D did not exist in the example above, then you could turn left or go straight from lane B or turn right or go straight from lane C.

OK, now that we know which lane to turn from, we need to know which lanes we can legally turn into.  In Texas, when turning right, you are required to turn both from the right lane and into the right lane unless there is an obvious safety reason not to (e.g. you're driving a long vehicle or there is a pedestrian or debris in the road.)  When turning left, however, you are permitted to turn into any lane designated for traffic headed in that direction and it is recommended that you pick the lane that interferes least with other traffic.  The exception is if you're turning left from a one-way street onto another one-way street; in that case, you must turn into the left lane.  Also, if you are turning from one of two lanes designated for the same turn movement (i.e. dual turn lanes), then you must turn into the appropriate lane as indicated by signs and/or pavement markings.  And one final word-- keep in mind that other people may not always follow the law, so be prepared to yield if necessary, even if you're in the right.

Additional information
Good driving habits dictate that you turn into the lane nearest you.  So, if you're turning left, you should turn into the left lane, and if you're turning right, you should turn into the right lane.
 



Center turn lanes
 
 
§545.060 - DRIVING ON ROADWAY LANED FOR TRAFFIC
(b) If a roadway is divided into three lanes and provides for two-way movement of traffic, an operator on the roadway may not drive in the center lane except:
(1) if passing another vehicle and the center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance;
(2) in preparing to make a left turn; or
(3) where the center lane is designated by an official traffic-control device for movement in the direction in which the operator is moving.

Center turn lanes are for use only when preparing to turn left from the main road onto a side street or driveway only.  Only enter the lane just before you are ready to slow down for the turn.  Also, the Federal Highway Administration's "Read Your Road" guide (link at the bottom of this page) indicates that, when turning from a side street or driveway onto the main road, you may also use this lane as a temporary refuge to wait for traffic to clear as long as you pull into the lane and wait and don't use the center turn lane as an acceleration lane.  However, it is important to note that Texas law does not seem to specifically permit this action, and I have had reports that some folks have been cited for doing this and the court has upheld their citation, so I would recommend avoiding this maneuver unless you absolutely have to.  Finally, although section (b)(1) above says you can use the center lane for passing, keep in mind that center lanes marked as left turn lanes cannot be used for passing as the traffic signs and pavement markings indicating that the lane is for left turns only take precedence.
 



Crossing medians or private property
 
 
§545.063 - DRIVING ON DIVIDED HIGHWAY
(a) On a highway having two or more roadways separated by a space, physical barrier, or clearly indicated dividing section constructed to impede vehicular traffic, an operator shall drive on the right roadway unless directed or permitted to use another roadway by an official traffic-control device or police officer.
(b) An operator may not drive over, across, or in a dividing space, physical barrier, or section constructed to impede vehicular traffic except:
(1) through an opening in the physical barrier or dividing section or space; or
(2) at a crossover or intersection established by a public authority.

§545.064 - RESTRICTED ACCESS

An operator may not drive on or from a limited-access or controlled-access roadway except at an entrance or exit that is established by a public authority.

§545.423 - CROSSING PROPERTY

(a) An operator may not cross a sidewalk or drive through a driveway, parking lot, or business or residential entrance without stopping the vehicle.
(b) An operator may not cross or drive in or on a sidewalk, driveway, parking lot, or business or residential entrance at an intersection to turn right or left from one highway to another highway.

It is illegal to drive across any median.  This includes the median between the freeway and the frontage road, even when there’s a traffic jam on the freeway.  If you want to get onto the frontage road, get off at the next exit.  You’re an adult-- act like it and be patient.  You're not any more important than anyone else on the road (really, you're not.)

Similar to driving across the median, it is also illegal to cross private property for the purpose of turning left or right from one road to another.  In other words, it's illegal to cut-through that gas station on the corner so you don't have to stop at the stop sign or red light or to avoid the line of cars waiting at the intersection.
 



Yielding on frontage roads
 
 
§545.154 - VEHICLE ENTERING OR LEAVING LIMITED-ACCESS OR CONTROLLED-ACCESS HIGHWAY

An operator on an access or feeder road of a limited-access or controlled-access highway shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle entering or about to enter the access or feeder road from the highway or leaving or about to leave the access or feeder road to enter the highway.

This law is quite simple: if you're on the frontage road (a.k.a. access road, feeder road, service road, or gateway) of a freeway or expressway, then you must yield to traffic exiting or entering the freeway or expressway.  This law covers all entrance and exit ramps, even if there are no yield signs.  Even if the traffic leaving the freeway merges into a separate lane, you are still technically required to yield.  After all, they may want to quickly move over to the right lane to turn.  Note, though, that yielding does not necessarily mean stopping (see below.)
 



Yield vs. stop
 
 
§544.010 - STOP SIGNS AND YIELD SIGNS
(a) Unless directed to proceed by a police officer or traffic-control signal, the operator of a vehicle or streetcar approaching an intersection with a stop sign shall stop as provided by Subsection (c).
(b) If safety requires, the operator of a vehicle approaching a yield sign shall stop as provided by Subsection (c).
(c) An operator required to stop by this section shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. In the absence of a crosswalk, the operator shall stop at a clearly marked stop line. In the absence of a stop line, the operator shall stop at the place nearest the intersecting roadway where the operator has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway.

§545.153 - VEHICLE ENTERING STOP OR YIELD INTERSECTION

(a) Preferential right-of-way at an intersection may be indicated by a stop sign or yield sign as authorized in Section 544.003.
(b) Unless directed to proceed by a police officer or official traffic-control device, an operator approaching an intersection on a roadway controlled by a stop sign, after stopping as required by Section 544.010, shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle that has entered the intersection from another highway or that is approaching so closely as to be an immediate hazard to the operator's movement in or across the intersection.
(c) An operator approaching an intersection on a roadway controlled by a yield sign shall:
(1) slow to a speed that is reasonable under the existing conditions; and
(2) yield the right-of-way to a vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to be an immediate hazard to the operator's movement in or across the intersection.
(d) If an operator is required by Subsection (c) to yield and is involved in a collision with a vehicle in an intersection after the operator drove past a yield sign without stopping, the collision is prima facie evidence that the operator failed to yield the right-of-way.

There's a reason for having two different signs.  "Stop" means that you must come to a complete stop, period.  "Yield", however, doesn't always mean that you have to stop.  "Yield" means that you must yield the right-of-way to other traffic by slowing or stopping as necessary.  You can satisfy the requirements to yield by just slowing down enough to let the other guy go by unmolested.  If nobody is coming, you can just keep going without slowing or stopping.  So, if you're approaching a yield sign, start looking early and if the way is clear, just keep going.  However, if it is necessary, you are indeed required to stop at a yield sign.

Additional information
Unfortunately, in city neighborhoods, it often seems that yield signs are placed where there should be stop signs, and vice-versa.  Europe overwhelmingly prefers yield signs; the US is ridiculously riddled with unnecessary stop signs.


 



Don't back-up on the freeway
 
 
§545.415 - BACKING A VEHICLE

(b) An operator may not back the vehicle on a shoulder or roadway of a limited-access or controlled-access highway.

Never, ever back-up on the freeway, even on the shoulder.  This is extremely dangerous!  Traffic is coming toward you at high-speed, and one of those drivers may need to pull off onto the shoulder suddenly or may swerve to avoid you.  If you miss your exit, just drive to the next exit, turn around, and go back.  In most cases, you'll only lose a couple of minutes.  Next time, make sure you know where you're going and pay attention to the signs.
 



Four-way stops
 

There is, believe it or not, no specific law regarding who goes first at a four-way or all-way stop.  The only applicable law states that drivers must stop and may enter the intersection only when it is safe to do so (§545.151).  So that leaves the right-of-way assignment up to the drivers.  To that end, there is a widely accepted convention that most drivers use to remove the guesswork.  Basically, it's first-come, first-served.  Implementing it is easy: when you stop at an all-way stop, look around and see who's already stopped.  When they've all gone, it's your turn!  If two or more people get there at the same time, then the protocol is that the person on the right should go first, and it should follow clockwise from there.
 


Move minor accidents out of traffic
 
 
§550.022 - ACCIDENT INVOLVING DAMAGE TO VEHICLE
(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), the operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle that is driven or attended by a person shall:
(1) immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close as possible to the scene of the accident without obstructing traffic more than is necessary;

[...]

 
(b) If an accident occurs on a main lane, ramp, shoulder, median, or adjacent area of a freeway in a metropolitan area and each vehicle involved can be normally and safely driven, each operator shall move the operator's vehicle as soon as possible to a designated accident investigation site, if available, a location on the frontage road, the nearest suitable cross street, or other suitable location to complete the requirements of Section 550.023 and minimize interference with freeway traffic.
 
[...]
 
(d) In this section, a vehicle can be normally and safely driven only if the vehicle:
(1) does not require towing; and
(2) can be operated under its own power and in its usual manner, without additional damage or hazard to the vehicle, other traffic, or the roadway.

Have you ever been caught in a traffic jam only to find that it was caused by a minor fender-bender blocking a lane?  Maybe you've thought to yourself, "there oughta be a law..."  Well, there is.  The law requires that anyone involved in an accident not obstruct traffic any more than is necessary.  The law even specifically requires that, if an accident occurs on a freeway or freeway ramp in a metropolitan area and all involved vehicles can be safely driven, the motorists involved must move their vehicles off of the freeway immediately.  This is to help prevent a traffic hazard and resulting congestion which, besides unnecessarily delaying others, also increases the likelihood of other accidents.  Many people think that their insurance won't cover them if they move their cars from the scene before the police arrive, but this is absolutely false.  The police and insurance adjustors can determine what happened from the stories of those involved and the damage to the vehicles.  Besides, in the case of most fender-benders, you legally don't even need to have the police come to the scene.  But if you're worried, then quickly snap some pictures of the scene and vehicles with your cell phone camera before you move.
 



Driving on the shoulder
 
 
§545.058 - DRIVING ON IMPROVED SHOULDER
(a) An operator may drive on an improved shoulder to the right of the main traveled portion of a roadway if that operation is necessary and may be done safely, but only:
(1) to stop, stand, or park;
(2) to accelerate before entering the main traveled lane of traffic;
(3) to decelerate before making a right turn;
(4) to pass another vehicle that is slowing or stopped on the main traveled portion of the highway, disabled, or preparing to make a left turn;
(5) to allow another vehicle traveling faster to pass;
(6) as permitted or required by an official traffic control device; or
(7) to avoid a collision

A common question I get, especially for newcomers to Texas, is whether it is legal to drive on the shoulder of a two-lane highway to allow other cars to pass as they have seen people doing.  The answer is yes, it is, as declared in (a)(5) above.  You'll find that most experienced drivers in Texas will automatically move onto the shoulder when a faster car comes up behind them on a two-lane road.  It's just a common courtesy and helps the other person to pass them safely.  However, there are some requirements to do this-- the shoulder must be wide enough and free of debris or stalled or parked vehicles (it is generally illegal to park on highways outside of business or residential districts).  If you do move onto the shoulder to allow someone to pass, reduce your speed a bit and keep a sharp eye out for any obstructions ahead.

You are also allowed to briefly drive on the shoulder to pass a vehicle that is slowing or has stopped in the main lane to turn left or has stalled.  Additionally, you can also drive on the shoulder to slow down to turn right, to speed up after turning onto the highway or after having stopped on the shoulder, or to avoid a collision. 

You are not allowed to drive on the shoulder to overtake another moving vehicle (except as provided above).  If the vehicle you are behind will not move onto the shoulder to allow you to pass, then you must pass them on the left when it's legal and safe to do so.
 



U-turns

 

One of the most frequent questions I get is regarding U-turns.  It seems everyone has a different idea of what is legal and isn't regarding U-turns.  There is only one state law specifically regarding U-turns: §545.102, which prohibits a U-turn if you cannot see 500 feet in front of you.  Otherwise, U-turns are allowed anywhere as long as there is not a sign or local ordinance prohibiting it.  If you want to make a U-turn at a traffic light, you cannot do so unless the left turn signal is green or, if there is no left turn signal, the light for through traffic is green.  Whenever you make a U-turn, you must, of course, yield to oncoming traffic just as if you were making a left turn.  If you make a U-turn with a green signal, you have the right-of-way over someone making a right-on-red.

That said, many municipalities have ordinances limiting U-turns in specific areas, such as business districts, or at signalized intersections, and these restrictions are frequently not signed.  Check with your local police or public works department to see if there is such an ordinance in your city.
 



Look before crossing intersections
 

Even if you have a green light, you should always look both ways before you cross any intersection.  Who knows... there could be somebody running the red or maybe an emergency vehicle approaching.  So always look before you cross any intersection.
 


Yellow traffic light
 
 
§544.007.  TRAFFIC-CONTROL SIGNALS IN GENERAL
(e) An operator of a vehicle facing a steady yellow signal is warned by that signal that:
(1) movement authorized by a green signal is being terminated; or
(2) a red signal is to be given.

Many people are unclear as to just what a yellow light really means.  By law, a yellow light is simply a warning that the light is about to change to red.  Technically, since no other direction can have a green while you have a yellow, a yellow still indicates that you have the right-of-way, and is essentially an extension of the green (but puts you on notice that the green is expiring.)  As such, you are allowed to enter the intersection when the light is yellow, and as long as you have entered the intersection before the light turns red, you have not violated the law.  Does this mean you should race to beat the red-- no, of course not.  If the light is yellow and you have not passed the "point of no return" and can safely stop, you should do so.  Note, however, that I said "safely" stop.  If the road is wet and you don't reasonably think you could stop without sliding into the intersection or perhaps having someone slide into you, then keep going-- your duty to prevent an accident is foremost.
 



Don't stop on entrance ramps
 


Unless traffic on the freeway is completely stopped, or there is no place for you to go, do not ever stop on a freeway entrance ramp!  This is an extremely serious traffic hazard.  Drivers behind you are speeding-up to get up to freeway speed and are looking back up the freeway for a gap to merge into.  They are not expecting you to stop!  If you can't squeeze into traffic by the time you get to the end of the ramp, make sure your left turn signal is on and carefully continue on the shoulder until you can merge into the traffic stream.

Additional information
If you're in the right lane of a freeway and see traffic preparing to merge, move over or give them room to merge.  Although the law requires traffic entering the freeway to yield (basic right-of-way law, §545.151), good drivers make the effort to help-out other motorists.

Also, if you stop on the shoulder to change a flat tire or deal with some other emergency, and you’re ready to get back on the freeway, get up to speed on the shoulder, then signal left and merge into traffic.  Do not pull from a standing stop directly onto the freeway’s main lanes.  This very action killed a mother and van full of children west of Ft. Worth back in the mid ‘90s.
 



Waiting in intersections
 
 
§545.302 - STOPPING, STANDING, OR PARKING PROHIBITED IN CERTAIN PLACES
(a) An operator may not stop, stand, or park a vehicle:
 
[...]
 

(3) in an intersection;

[...]
 
(f) Subsections (a), (b), and (c) do not apply if the avoidance of conflict with other traffic is necessary or if the operator is complying with the law or the directions of a police officer or official traffic-control device.

The issue of waiting in an intersection is a little tricky.  The law specifically prohibits stopping in an intersection.  However, subsection (f) of the same law makes an exception "if the avoidance of conflict with other traffic is necessary."  Therefore, the following sections cover the two conflicting issues regarding when to wait in an intersection.  It's amazing to me that many people do exactly the opposite of these!

WAITING TO TURN LEFT
Sometimes, you come to an intersection where you want to turn left and there's a green light but no green arrow.  Instead of waiting behind the line, you should move about ¼ of the way into the intersection and wait there.  Then, if the light turns red before you can turn, the oncoming traffic will stop and you can complete your turn.  (Make sure, of course, that that the oncoming traffic is stopping before you actually turn. Sometimes they'll still have a green even when your direction has a red.)  Isn't this considered running a red light, though?  No, because you lawfully entered the intersection on a green and other traffic must by law allow you to clear the intersection before they can go (§544.007 (b)).  At intersections without protected left arrows on busy streets, you often have to do this if you ever want to turn.  How is this legal, though, when §545.302(a)(3) specifically prohibits stopping in an intersection?  In this case, the exception provided by subsection (f) allows this action: you're stopping to avoid conflicting with oncoming traffic.

Additional information
If you are waiting in an intersection when the light turns red, you should never back out of the intersection.  Just wait for the traffic to clear and then complete your turn.

DON'T BLOCK INTERSECTIONS
If the street you are on is bumper-to-bumper and you come to an intersection with a green light, remember: "Don't Block The Box!"  You should not enter an intersection if congestion would prevent you from immediately vacating the intersection when the signal turns red.  In other words, don't drive into an intersection unless you know you can get out quickly if the light turns red.  So why doesn't the exception provided by subtitle (f) apply?  In this case, you're not stopping to avoid conflicting with other traffic; you're stopping due to congestion, which is different.  It's basically a matter of common sense and good faith in keeping with the spirit of the law.  With the left-turn rule above, assuming there is nothing obstructing the street you want to turn onto, you will be able to vacate the intersection before or immediately after your light turns red.  With congestion your egress is blocked by stopped traffic which will prevent you from being able to exit the intersection immediately when the light turns red and thus will leave you blocking the intersection for cross-traffic.

By the way, this rule can also cancel the waiting-to-turn-left rule above: if you have a green light, or even a green arrow, but the street you want to turn onto is backed-up to the intersection, wait out of the intersection until there's room for you, then turn.

New York City had such a problem with blocked intersections that they started a public education program called "Don't Block The Box!"  Obstructing intersections in this manner causes traffic on the intersecting street to also become congested.  This leads to the phenomenon known as "gridlock" where several blocks of traffic in all directions are "locked" because of obstructed intersections.

Additional information
Even if you have a green light, the law requires you to yield to traffic already in the intersection.  So if someone on the cross street was hanging-out in the intersection waiting to turn left when your signal turns green, don't roar into the intersection and pound your horn-- they're legally there and have the right to make their turn unmolested and you're just being a putz by not giving them a few seconds to move on.


 



Drive right, pass left
 
 
§545.051 - DRIVING ON RIGHT SIDE OF ROADWAY
(b) An operator of a vehicle on a roadway moving more slowly than the normal speed of other vehicles at the time and place under the existing conditions shall drive in the right-hand lane available for vehicles, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, unless the operator is:
(1) passing another vehicle; or
(2) preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

Before I explain this one, let me ask you this: where is the fastest water in a river?  In the middle, of course.  Why?  Because this is the place with the least friction.  This is the deepest part of the river and there are no ragged edges to slow the water.  A highway works the same way (think of it as a two-way river.)  The right lane has the most "friction": entering and exiting traffic and stalled vehicles on the shoulder.  The left lane has virtually no friction.  That is why it is reserved for faster-moving traffic.

Imagine this scenario: you're in the left lane on the freeway going faster than other traffic and you come up behind someone going a little slower than you.  Instead of waiting a few seconds for them to move over, you whip around them on the right.  At the same time, someone going much slower than you is trying to get on the freeway at the same location.  Now, both of you are creating a big hazard for each other and someone is going to have to give.  This is why (a) you shouldn't pass on the right; and (b) you should move to the right if you're traveling slower than other traffic.  The second part applies no matter how fast you are going.  Notice that the law only says that traffic moving "more slowly" than other vehicles; there is no exception given for vehicles traveling the posted speed limit.  If you're going the speed limit in the left lane and someone behind you wants to go faster, move over!  It is neither your right nor your privilege to enforce the law, and you're actually violating the law by not moving over.  You never know-- that person may have a bonafide emergency.  On the other hand, if you're the one behind the slower driver, have a little patience and give them a few seconds to move over before you zip around them.  I can't count the number of times I've seen someone in the left lane who wanted to move over but got trapped there because everyone immediately passed them on the right.  Plus, the weaving of the driver who constantly passes people causes hazards for other drivers and the turbulence caused by their frequent lane changes often causes kinks in the traffic flow.


 



Right-of-way when changing lanes
 
 
§545.061 - DRIVING ON MULTIPLE-LANE ROADWAY

On a roadway divided into three or more lanes and providing for one-way movement of traffic, an operator entering a lane of traffic from a lane to the right shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle entering the same lane of traffic from a lane to the left.

This is one of the least-known laws.  When someone from the left lane and someone from the right lane both try to move into the same space in the center lane at the same time, who has the right-of-way?  In Texas, the law is that the person changing lanes from left to right has the right-of-way.

Additional information
Although there’s no law requiring it, you should only change one lane at a time.  If you need to get across several lanes, move over one lane, establish yourself in that lane for a few seconds, then move over to the next lane.  And don't forget your turn signal each time (which, by the way, is required by §545.104)!
 



Left on red
 
 
§544.007 - TRAFFIC-CONTROL SIGNALS IN GENERAL
(d) An operator of a vehicle facing only a steady red signal shall stop at a clearly marked stop line.  In the absence of a stop line, the operator shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection.  A vehicle that is not turning shall remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown.  After stopping, standing until the intersection may be entered safely, and yielding right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully in an adjacent crosswalk and other traffic lawfully using the intersection, the operator may:
(1) turn right; or
(2) turn left, if the intersecting streets are both one-way streets and a left turn is permissible.

This is one of my major pet peeves.  Whenever I drive downtown, I always end-up stuck behind someone on a one-way street stopped at a red light waiting to turn left onto another one-way street.  If only they knew...

A left turn on red is allowed when the street you are is one-way, and the street you are turning onto is also one-way (to the left, of course).  Makes sense if you think about it-- it's just a mirror image of a right-on-red.

However, there are some people who insist that you can make a left turn at a red light at any intersection (i.e. two-way to two-way, two-way to one-way, or one-way to two-way).  While there are some states that allow some version of this, Texas does not.  Unless both streets are one-way, you can not make a left on red.  Also, there are some who believe that you can make a left on red if there are no signs such as "LEFT TURN SIGNAL" or "LEFT ON GREEN ARROW".  Again, not in Texas.  Those signs are purely informational and as long as a signal is obviously intended to regulate traffic turning left (which a red signal to the left of the green signals for through traffic would be), then drivers are required to obey it regardless of the absence or presence of signs.  Turning left on a red light, unless both streets are one-way, is running a red light and you can be ticketed for such.

RIGHT ON RED FROM DUAL TURN LANES
In a related matter, I often get the question of whether it is legal to make a right on red from the left lane of dual right turn lanes (i.e. the "outer" right turn lane).  The answer is yes, so long as there aren't any signs prohibiting it such as those shown below.  


 



Advisory speeds
 

What is the speed limit on the curve marked by the sign at the left?  Most people would say 25 mph, but the answer is that we don't have enough information to know what the speed limit is here.  The "25 mph" sign here is a speed advisory sign, not a speed limit sign.  Speed advisory signs indicate the recommended speed for a particular hazard, but they are not a legal speed limit.  Enforceable speed limits are marked by the familiar black and white SPEED LIMIT signs.  So, the speed limit for this curve would be whatever the last black and white speed limit sign indicated (or the default speed limit for that type of roadway in the absence of a speed limit sign.

Additional information
A study by the Federal Highway Administration back in the '90s determined that the formula used to calculate the advisory speeds on curves, which was developed back in the 1930s, was significantly outdated and was producing advisory speeds that were 10-15 mph below what modern vehicles can safely handle.  Work (and debate) continues on updating and refining the methods used to calculate advisory speeds.  Despite that, it is a good idea to travel at about the speed indicated on these signs-- you could still be citied for unsafe speed if you're traveling significantly faster than what is posted, especially if you have an accident.
 



Turning left across a median
 

A common question I've gotten lately regards the proper way to turn left across a median; specifically, do you keep to the near side or cross over to the far side?  The answer is that it depends on the width of the median.

In Texas, if the median is 30 feet or more wide (nominally), then each side of the median is considered to be a separate roadway.  This means that crossovers through the median are considered to be a cross street, albeit a very short one.  So in those cases, you must keep to the right as you cross over, just as if you were driving on a regular street.  Usually, if this is the case, there will be a set of double-yellow lines in the middle of the crossover as well as yield or stop signs; these are your cue to keep to the right while passing through. 




If the median is less than 30 feet wide, then you would make a "regular" left turn; that is, stay on the near side as you turn left.  There are usually no signs or markings in the crossover in this situation.





Passing a funeral
 

Across most of the state, especially in rural areas, it is the convention for drivers, out of respect for the deceased, to pull-over and stop while a funeral passes by.  I suspect that as a result, many folks think that it is actually the law to do so.  In fact, it is not.  While many states have laws that require drivers to yield to a funeral procession, Texas has no such law.  Funeral processions are always escorted by peace officers, and obviously if they indicate for you to yield, then you must do so.  But otherwise, if you're driving down the road and a funeral procession approaches, you are not obligated by the law to pull over.
 


Changing lanes in an intersection
 

I'm not sure where this rumor started, but I have gotten several inquiries about the legality of changing lanes in an intersection.  In Texas, and in every other state that I could find, it is perfectly legal to change lanes in an intersection, so long as it can be done safely (which is always the case when changing lanes.)  There's nothing inherently special about being in an intersection that would legally preclude someone from changing lanes, and if this were the law, it would be very difficult to ever change lanes along most major streets since there is an intersection every block!  Hopefully this will squelch this urban legend once and for all.

Additional information
Several people have written me saying that §545.302 does in fact prohibit changing lanes in an intersection.  However, they are incorrectly interpreting the statute.  Here is the text of that statute:

§ 545.056 - DRIVING TO LEFT OF CENTER OF ROADWAY: LIMITATIONS OTHER THAN PASSING

(a) An operator may not drive to the left side of the roadway if the operator is:

(1) approaching within 100 feet of an intersection or railroad grade crossing in a municipality;
(2) approaching within 100 feet of an intersection or railroad grade crossing outside a municipality and the intersection or crossing is shown by a sign or marking in accordance with Section 545.055;
(3) approaching within 100 feet of a bridge, viaduct, or tunnel; or
(4) awaiting access to a ferry operated by the Texas Transportation Commission.

Notice that the statute specifically says "an operator may not drive to the left side of the roadway".  This is different than the changing lanes discussed above.  "Changing lanes" is when there are two or more lanes for the direction you are traveling and you wish to change between those lanes.  "Driving to the left side of the roadway" is just that-- going across the yellow line down the middle of the roadway and crossing into oncoming traffic.  As you can see by the statute, doing this is illegal within 100 feet of the approach of an intersection.  My guess is many people misconstrue or misremember this rule to mean that you can't change lanes at an intersection.  However, the two are completely separate things and there is no restriction on changing lanes.

That said, you should avoid changing lanes while approaching an intersection, especially if you see someone waiting at the intersection. That person may decide to make a turn onto your roadway based on which lane you're in. For instance, if you're in the left lane, someone may use that as an opportunity to turn into the right lane. If you suddenly change into that lane after they've committed themselves to making that turn, then you're creating a dangerous situation for both yourself and the other driver and may very well end-up in a crash because of it.


Other sites of interest

Texas Transportation Code
http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/?link=TN
Texas Department of Public Safety's Driver's Manual
http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/documents/DL-7.pdf
Texas Manual of Uniform Traffic Devices
http://www.dot.state.tx.us/txdot_library/publications/tmutcd.htm
Read Your Road
http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/docs/ryr.pdf
Real World Driving Tips
http://www.ibiblio.org/rdu/drv-tips.html
Defensive Driving: 70 Rules to Live By
http://www.roadtripamerica.com/DefensiveDriving/Drive-Safe-With-Uncle-Bob.htm



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