Is it legal to turn right on to the near lane of 4 lane road (two lanes per direction), when there is a vehicle on the far lane or should I wait for the blue car to pass.

Location: USA, WA


  • 2
    I wondered about that too, but I have seen police cars do it often (not being on emergency duty). I do it all the time, and nobody ever cared...
    – Aganju
    Oct 3, 2020 at 4:14
  • 5
    It is legal. But, it is not always a good idea. It depends on the road and the speed of the other car. Right turns onto a highway access road are a good examples of where you should take a conservative approach.
    – Dean F.
    Oct 3, 2020 at 5:00

1 Answer 1


You can and you are expected to turn into the nearest lane. Whether there is traffic in the other lane is apparently not relevant.

The Washington State Driver Guide says:

Turn from the lane that is closest to the direction you want to go and turn into the lane closest to the one you came from. When making turns, go from one lane to the other as directly as possible without crossing lane lines or interfering with traffic. Once you have completed your turn, you can change to another lane if you need to.

That said, it's a very good idea to wait if you aren't absolutely sure that the driver of that vehicle isn't going to suddenly change lanes without signaling. Countless dashcam accident videos on YouTube taught me this... I'd go only if I saw him move from the right to the left lane to let me in.

  • 2
    Technically this is answering the question of which lane you need to turn it. It does NOT address the question of WHEN it's legal to make such a turn (based on approaching traffic)
    – Doc
    Oct 3, 2020 at 19:33
  • 1
    "you are expected to turn into the nearest lane" oh, if only people would do this... Countless hours of my life spent sitting behind someone waiting for the entire road to be clear so they can make a turn across all lanes when there was a perfectly serviceable and empty lane that they were supposed be be turning into in the first place. The quality of US driver's education is abysmal at best... :(
    – FreeMan
    Oct 5, 2020 at 16:17
  • 1
    Bear in mind that state and local laws govern traffic in the US. They tend to differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Feb 13, 2021 at 19:30

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