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Turn signals are used to communicate with other drivers where you intend to go. You must signal before you turn, change lanes, exit a roundabout or pull away from a curb. Before making such a move, be sure you can do so safely. Check traffic ahead, behind and to the side.
If your vehicle is moving in traffic, use your turn signal at least 100 feet before the turn or lane change. When you are parked at a curb and about to reenter traffic, use a signal long enough to alert traffic that you are moving into the lane.
Only use hand-and-arm signals in daylight and when you can clearly see people and vehicles at a distance of 1,000 feet. You must use turn signal lights at night or when visibility is poor. Hand-and-arm signals should not be used any time you are driving a wide or long vehicle.
Do not rely solely on the turn signal of another driver. The driver may signal to turn right and instead turn left, or may turn without signaling.
Rules for turning apply at all locations, such as driveways and alleys, not just at intersections. Check for traffic behind and beside you well before you turn. Turn smoothly and at a lower speed. The diagram on the right illustrates the lanes to use when making left and right turns.
You may turn across a bicycle lane, but do not move into a bicycle lane in preparation for a turn. Always check for bicycles in your blind spot before turning. Watch for bicyclists who may ride up beside your vehicle while you are preparing to make a turn. You must yield to bicyclists in a bicycle lane or on a sidewalk. Check the crosswalk and stop for pedestrians.
Lane use control signs or pavement markings may be used to direct you into the correct lane before turning. If you are at an intersection and in the wrong lane to turn, go to the next intersection. It is safer to drive around the block than it is to risk a crash due to a last-minute lane or direction change.
Get as near as you can to the right curb or edge of the road. Just before entering the intersection, look to the left, to the front, to the right and to the left again for traffic.
On a two-way road, approach the turn with your vehicle in the lane just to the right of the center line. Just before entering the intersection, look to the left, to the front, to the right and to the left again for oncoming traffic and cross traffic. Oregon law requires a driver to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic until it is safe to turn. Turn just before the imaginary center point in the intersection. Drive just to the right of the center line of the street you are entering.
It is illegal to execute a left turn onto a two-way road against a red light. If a left turn lane is provided, you must turn from that lane.
Left Turn: One-Way Road to One-Way Road
Approach the turn in the traffic lane that is nearest the left curb. Turn into the nearest left lane for traffic on the road you are entering. You may make this turn against a red light after stopping and yielding to traffic and pedestrians.
Left or Right Turn: Two-Way Road to One-Way Road
Approach the turn in the traffic lane that is nearest to the direction of the turn. Turn into the nearest lane for traffic on the road you are entering. You may make this turn against a red light after stopping and yielding to traffic and pedestrians.
Left Turn: One-Way Road to Two-Way Road
Approach the turn in the traffic lane nearest the left curb. Turn into the lane just to the right of the center line. You cannot make this turn against a red light.
Dual Left or Right Turn Lanes
Multiple lanes may turn in the same direction at the same time when lane use control signs or pavement markings permit it.
Be sure to follow the pavement markings and stay in your lane when executing turns onto roadways with more lanes than the lane you are turning from.
Turning Error Examples
The general rule for turning is to turn from the nearest lane in the direction you are traveling to the nearest lane in the direction you want to go. Avoid swinging wide or changing lanes while turning.
U-turns are prohibited in these locations:
- Intersections controlled by a traffic signal, unless a sign permits
- the turn.
- Between intersections in a city.
- Any location within city limits where your vehicle cannot be seen
- by traffic coming from either direction within 500 feet.
- Any location outside city limits where your vehicle cannot be seen by traffic coming from either direction within 1,000 feet.
- At or on a railroad crossing.
- Any location where U-turns are prohibited by official signs or markings.
Stop signs, yield signs, and traffic signals control the flow of traffic at busy intersections. A defensive driver never assumes a stop sign or a traffic signal will stop approaching traffic.
At an intersection with a stop sign, steady red signal or flashing red signal, you must stop before the marked stop line or crosswalk, if there is one. If there is no stop line or crosswalk, stop before the unmarked crossing area before entering the intersection (see section on Pedestrians). Always yield to pedestrians, bicycles, and traffic in the intersection when making an allowed turn. After stopping, if you are unable to see traffic coming from your left and right, slightly pull forward and scan the area. Even if you have a green light, do not enter an intersection unless there is room for your vehicle on the other side.
At intersections with stop signs in all four directions, it is common courtesy to allow the driver who stops first to go first. When in doubt, yield to the driver on your right. Never assume another driver will yield the right of way to you.
At intersections with two-way stop signs across from each other, the driver turning left should yield the right of way to approaching or oncoming traffic going straight.
As you approach an intersection with no signs or signals, first look to the left to make sure cross traffic is yielding right of way, then look to the front and to the right. Be prepared to stop. Yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching from your right. As you enter the intersection, check again for unusual or unexpected actions.
If you are the driver on a road that ends at a “T” intersection with no signs or signals, you must yield to drivers on the through road.
Roundabouts, rotaries, and traffic circles are all terms used for circular intersections with a center island.
Traffic moves in one direction, counterclockwise, around the center island. A warning sign with arrows in a circle pattern indicates a circular intersection is ahead.
The following steps will help you travel safely through a roundabout.
Slow down as you approach the roundabout. Look for signs to determine where your exit is located. Watch for bicycles; they will either merge into traffic or use the sidewalk. When approaching the crosswalk, stop for pedestrians using the crosswalk in your lane.
Enter – Before you enter the roundabout, you must yield to traffic inside as well as exiting the roundabout. Wait for a gap and merge into traffic. Be prepared to stop if necessary.
Proceed – Once inside the roundabout, move around the circle until you reach your exit. Allow bicycles that have merged into traffic the full travel lane. Do not pass a bicycle within the roundabout.
Exit – Indicate your plan to exit using your right turn signal. Watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk and be prepared to stop.
Roundabouts may have one or more lanes. Here are a few tips to help you safely negotiate a multi-lane roundabout.
Lane Choice – Prior to entering the roundabout, pay close attention to exit and lane use signs, along with pavement markings. Enter the roundabout using the appropriate lane for your exit.
Maintain your lane position until you exit. Avoid lane changes while inside the roundabout, if possible.
Do Not Pass – Do not attempt to overtake or pass any vehicles, especially large trucks and trailers within the roundabout. Trucks may need to straddle both lanes. It is illegal to pass or drive beside a truck within the roundabout.
Emergency Vehicles in Roundabouts
Do not enter a roundabout when emergency vehicles are approaching. Pull over to the right. Allow other vehicles to clear the intersection so the emergency vehicles can move through the roundabout. Never stop while inside the roundabout. Instead, move through and exit the roundabout. Once you exit, pull over to the right shoulder and allow emergency vehicles to pass.
When turning from one road to another
- Swing wide to make the turn.
- Move into the bicycle lane prior to the turn.
- Turn into the closest lane in the direction you want to go.
When you reach a roundabout you must
- Yield, wait for a gap and merge into traffic.
- Stop before entering then merge into traffic.
- Accelerate to merge into traffic.
When stopped on a two-way road at a red light waiting to turn left onto a one-way, you
- Must wait until the light is green.
- Can only turn on the red light if a left turn sign is posted.
- Can turn on the red light after yielding to other traffic.