Briefing Room: illegal right turns and legal right turns

Hi Seal Beach,

It has been a long while since I answered any questions about traffic rules and regulations.  Over the weekend (while off-duty) I observed a car make an illegal right turn which nearly caused a collision.  Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but I thought I’d remind the community about one particular section of the California Vehicle Code.

Section 22100(a) states, Right Turns:

Both the approach for a right-hand turn and a right-hand turn shall be made as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except:      

(1) Upon a highway having three marked lanes for traffic moving in one direction that terminates at an intersecting highway accommodating traffic in both directions, the driver of a vehicle in the middle lane may turn right into any lane lawfully available to traffic moving in that direction upon the roadway being entered.      

(2) If a right-hand turn is made from a one-way highway at an intersection, a driver shall approach the turn as provided in this subdivision and shall complete the turn in any lane lawfully available to traffic moving in that direction upon the roadway being entered.       

(3) Upon a highway having an additional lane or lanes marked for a right turn by appropriate signs or markings, the driver of a vehicle may turn right from any lane designated and marked for that turning movement.

What does this all mean?  According to the California Driver Handbook: “To make a right turn, drive close to the right edge of the road. If there is a bike lane, drive into the bike lane no more than 200 feet before the turn. Watch for pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists who may get between your vehicle and the curb. Begin signaling about 100 feet before the turn. Look over your right shoulder and reduce your speed. Stop behind the limit line. Look both ways and turn when it is safe. Do not turn wide into another lane. Complete your turn in the right lane.”

For a visual reminder, 200 feet is over half the length of an American football field.

The car I saw over the weekend made an illegal right turn by not beginning and ending the right turn in the lane nearest the right edge of a road, and almost collided with a vehicle in the left lane.

I hope this serves as a friendly reminder of this important section of our Vehicle Code. Please drive safely.

Keep your questions coming Seal Beach!  Email us at today.