Washington Rules of the Road for Turning at an Intersection
Needing to turn at an intersection? Then you need to know how you are required to turn under the Washington Rules of the Road.
Right Turns: you must make the turn as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.
Left Turns: Must approach the turn in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available for your direction of travel. If possible you must make the left turn to the left of the center of the intersection to allow for passage of other traffic.
Two-way left turns: If there is a designated zone for left turns to be made coming from either direction of travel then you may not make a left turn from any other lane. You are not permitted to drive in the center two-way left turn lane to overtake or pass another vehicle. You are only permitted to travel 300 feet in the turn lane and must signal for the left turn at least 100 feet before the actual left turn occurs.
Additionally, if there are traffic control signals indicating when and how to make right and left turns then you must obey those traffic control signals. If emergency personnel are directing you to make a turn a specific way then you must obey the direction of the authorized emergency personnel.
The law regarding your required position and methods for making turns at intersections is as follows:
RCW 46.61.290: Required position and method of turning at intersections.
The driver of a vehicle intending to turn shall do so as follows:
- Right turns. 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.
- Left turns. The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left shall approach the turn in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of the vehicle. Whenever practicable the left turn shall be made to the left of the center of the intersection and so as to leave the intersection or other location in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction as the vehicle on the roadway being entered.
- Two-way left turn lanes.
- The department of transportation and local authorities in their respective jurisdictions may designate a two-way left turn lane on a roadway. A two-way left turn lane is near the center of the roadway set aside for use by vehicles making left turns in either direction from or into the roadway.
- Two-way left turn lanes shall be designated by distinctive uniform roadway markings. The department of transportation shall determine and prescribe standards and specifications governing type, length, width, and positioning of the distinctive permanent markings. The standards and specifications developed shall be filed with the code reviser in accordance with the procedures set forth in the administrative procedure act, chapter 34.05 RCW. On and after July 1, 1971, permanent markings designating a two-way left turn lane shall conform to such standards and specifications.
- Upon a roadway where a center lane has been provided by distinctive pavement markings for the use of vehicles turning left from either direction, no vehicles may turn left from any other lane. A vehicle shall not be driven in this center lane for the purpose of overtaking or passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction. No vehicle may travel further than three hundred feet within the lane. A signal, either electric or manual, for indicating a left turn movement, shall be made at least one hundred feet before the actual left turn movement is made.
- The department of transportation and local authorities in their respective jurisdictions may cause official traffic-control devices to be placed and thereby require and direct that a different course from that specified in this section be traveled by turning vehicles, and when the devices are so placed no driver of a vehicle may turn a vehicle other than as directed and required by the devices.
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