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Changing Lanes Safely and Traffic Control Devices

Changing Lanes Safely

§ 1120. Drive on right side of roadway; exceptions.

(a) Upon all roadways of sufficient width a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway, except as follows:

1. When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement;

2. When overtaking or passing pedestrians, animals or obstructions on the right half of the roadway; 

* NB Effective until November 1, 2010

3. When overtaking or passing bicyclists, pedestrians, animals or obstructions on the right half of the roadway;

* NB Effective November 1, 2010

4. When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway; provided, any person so doing shall yield the right of way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the highway within such distance as to constitute an immediate hazard;

5. Where travel on the shoulder or slope is permitted by section eleven hundred thirty-one of this article;

6. Upon a roadway divided into three marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon; or

7. Upon a roadway restricted to one-way traffic.

(b) In addition, upon all roadways, any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

(c) Upon any roadway having four or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for two way movement of traffic, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of the center line of the roadway, except when authorized by signs or markings designating certain lanes to the left side of the center of the roadway for use by traffic not otherwise permitted to use such lanes, or except as permitted under subsection (a) (2) hereof.

§ 1121. Passing vehicles proceeding in opposite directions.

Drivers of vehicles proceeding in opposite direction shall pass each other to the right, and upon roadways having width for not more than one line of traffic in each direction each driver shall give to the other at least one-half of the main-traveled portion of the roadway as nearly as possible.

§ 1122. Overtaking a vehicle on the left.

The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions, and special rules hereinafter stated:

(a) The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.

(b) Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle on audible signal and shall not increase the speed of his vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

* § 1122-a. Overtaking a bicycle.

The operator of a vehicle overtaking, from behind, a bicycle proceeding on the same side of a roadway shall pass to the left of such bicycle at a safe distance until safely clear thereof.

* NB Effective November 1, 2010

§ 1124. Limitations on overtaking on the left.

No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless authorized by the provisions of this chapter and unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle overtaken. In every event the overtaking vehicle must return to an authorized lane of travel as soon as practicable and in the event the passing movement involves the use of a lane authorized for vehicles approaching from the opposite direction, before coming within two hundred feet of any approaching vehicle.

§ 1128. Driving on roadways laned for traffic.

Whenever any roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic the following rules in addition to all others consistent herewith shall apply:

(a) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.

(b) Upon a roadway which is divided into three lanes and provides for two-way movement of traffic a vehicle shall not be driven in the center lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction when such center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance, or in preparation for making a left turn or where such center lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the same direction that the vehicle is proceeding and such allocation is designated by official traffic-control devices.

(c) When official traffic-control devices direct slow-moving traffic, trucks, buses or specified types of vehicles to use a designated lane or designate those lanes to be used by traffic moving in a particular direction regardless of the center of the roadway, drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such sign, signal or marking.

(d) When official markings are in place indicating those portions of any roadway where crossing such markings would be especially hazardous, no driver of a vehicle proceeding along such highway shall at any time drive across such markings.

Traffic Control Devices

§1110. Obedience to and required traffic-control devices.

(a) Every person shall obey the instructions of any official traffic-control device applicable to him placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer, subject to the exceptions granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this title.

(b) No provision of this title for which signs are required shall be enforced against an alleged violator if at the time and place of the alleged violation an official sign is not in proper position and sufficiently legible to be seen by an ordinarily observant person. Whenever a particular section does not state that signs are required, such section shall be effective even though no signs are erected or in place.

(c) Whenever official traffic-control devices are placed in position approximately conforming to the requirements of this chapter, such devices shall be presumed to have been so placed by the official act or direction of lawful authority, unless the contrary shall be established by competent evidence.

(d) Any official traffic-control device placed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and purporting to conform to the lawful requirements pertaining to such devices shall be presumed to comply with the requirements of this chapter, unless the contrary shall be established by competent evidence.

(e) For purposes of this article, "intersection" shall include the area embracing the juncture of a highway with a private road or driveway and "intersecting roadway" shall include an intersecting private road or driveway.

§1111. Traffic-control signal indications.

Whenever traffic is controlled by traffic-control signals, other than lane direction control signal indications provided in section eleven hundred sixteen, exhibiting different colored lights, or colored lighted arrows, successively, one at a time or in combination, only the colors green, yellow and red shall be used, and said lights shall indicate and apply to drivers of vehicles and to pedestrians as follows:

(a) Green indications:

1. Traffic, except pedestrians, facing a steady circular green signal may proceed straight through or turn right or left unless a sign at such place prohibits either such turn. Such traffic, including when turning right or left, shall yield the right of way to other traffic lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk at the time such signal is exhibited.

2. Traffic, except pedestrians, facing a steady green arrow signal may cautiously enter the intersection only to make the movement indicated by such arrow, or such other movement as is permitted by other indications shown at the same time, except that a U-Turn may be made by traffic facing a left green arrow signal unless a sign prohibits such U-Turn or such U-Turn is in violation of any other provision of law. Such traffic shall yield the right of way to other traffic lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent cross walk at the time such signal is exhibited.

3. Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian-control signal as provided in section eleven hundred twelve, pedestrians facing any steady green signal, except when the sole green signal is a turn arrow, may proceed across the roadway within any marked or unmarked crosswalk.

(b) Yellow indications:

1. Traffic, except pedestrians, facing a steady circular yellow signal may enter the intersection; however, said traffic is thereby warned that the related green movement is being terminated or that a red indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter.

2. Traffic, except pedestrians, facing a steady yellow arrow signal may cautiously enter the intersection only to complete the movement indicated by such arrow or make such other movement as is permitted by other indications shown at the same time; however, said traffic is thereby warned that the related green arrow movement is being terminated or that a red indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter.

3. Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian-control signal as provided in section eleven hundred twelve, pedestrians facing any steady yellow signal are thereby advised that there is insufficient time to cross the roadway before a red indication is shown and no pedestrian shall then start to cross the roadway.

(c) Red indications:

1. Traffic, except pedestrians, facing a steady circular red signal, unless to make such other movement as is permitted by other indications shown at the same time, shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, then shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or in the event there is no crosswalk, at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of the approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection and shall remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown except as provided in paragraph two of this subdivision.

2. Except in a city having a population of one million or more, unless a sign is in place prohibiting such turn:

a. Traffic facing a steady circular red signal may cautiously enter the intersection to make a right turn after stopping as required by paragraph one of this subdivision, except that right turning traffic is not required to stop when a steady right green arrow signal is shown at the same time. Such traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within a marked or unmarked crosswalk at the intersection and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection;

b. Traffic, while on a one-way roadway, facing a steady red signal may cautiously enter the intersection to make a left turn onto a one-way roadway after stopping as required by paragraph one of this subdivision. Such traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within a marked or unmarked crosswalk at the intersection and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any city having a population of one million or more, is hereby authorized and empowered to adopt a local law authorizing subparagraph a or b of this paragraph to be applicable within such city. Upon the adoption of such local law the exception provided herein for a city having a population of one million or more shall no longer be applicable within such city.

c. On or after the effective date of this subparagraph, the sign which prohibits such turn shall be prominently displayed from all newly installed traffic signals where possible.

3. Traffic, except pedestrians, facing a steady red arrow signal may not enter the intersection to make the movement indicated by such arrow and, unless entering the intersection to make such other movement as is permitted by other indications shown at the same time, shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, then shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or in the event there is no crosswalk at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of the approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection and shall remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown.

4. Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian-control signal as provided in section eleven hundred twelve, pedestrians facing any steady red signal shall not enter the roadway.

5. Notwithstanding the provision of paragraph two of this subdivision, no school bus, while transporting pupils for any purpose, shall be permitted to proceed when facing a steady red signal.

(d) Traffic shall obey signs requiring obedience to traffic-control signals at intersections other than those at which such signals are located. No intersection not controlled by such signs prior to the effective date of this section shall hereafter be made subject to such method of control and no ordinance, order, rule or regulation requiring such obedience shall hereafter be adopted.

(e) In the event an official traffic-control signal is erected and maintained at a place other than an intersection, the provisions of this section shall be applicable except as to those provisions which by their nature can have no application. Any stop required shall be made at a sign or marking on the pavement indicating where the stop shall be made, but in the absence of any such sign or marking the stop shall be made at the signal.