Q&A - Changing Lanes In an Intersection

Q&A ImageToday I was almost in a traffic collision. I was turning right and people across the intersection were turning left. The street we were turning onto had two lanes either side of the centre. I assumed all of the people turning left would end their turn in the left-most lane because they were turning out of the only left turn lane and I was taught you shouldn't change langes in an interection.

One of the vehicles turning left ended his turn in the right lane and as I was turning right into that lane we nearly collided. Now I've been told after the fact that this is just a recommendation that ICBC gives and that there is no law against changing lanes in an intersection. I think people should be warned about this in the driving training booklet.

If we had collided, would I have been at fault or would he have been at fault, legally? Does it make a difference if he is turning on a green arrow or not?


It's not Illegal in B.C., but it is an Unsafe Practice

It is not illegal to change lanes in an intersection here in B.C. but a defensive driver will change lanes well prior to an intersection and will wait until well past to changes lanes as well. Intersections are dangerous places and following a driving practice that avoids confusion here is not only smart, it is courteous to other drivers.

I have written about changing lanes in an intersection on this site already.

Turning left at an intersection where there are multiple lanes for the same direction of travel is something that many drivers in B.C. do poorly as well. You can learn about doing this properly in the article on left turns at an intersection. Once the left turn driver has turned into the proper lane they must make a lane change if they wish to use the curb lane. As you will see in the article on changing lanes, the driver changing lanes must not affect the travel of any other vehicle, which would include a vehice that is turning right into the adjacent lane.

These rules must be followed regardless of whether there is an advance arrow for either driver.

I don't have an example of case law specific to this situation, but you may find other left turning cases will give you some idea how the court will assess liability if a collision does occur.

Solid white line

You can’t cross a solid white line, so coming up to intersections you’ll notice they change from broken to solid, so yes it is illegal 

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