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ASK A COP: Is it OK to exit turning lane to continue driving straight?

Richard from Port Arthur Asks – I’ve learned from your column that if I’m in a straight travel lane at a stop light and if I change my mind and decide to turn that it’s illegal to put on turn signal and get over in the turning lane and turn. So I was wondering if I’m stopped at a traffic signal in the turning lane and decide to go straight, can I turn on my signal and get over and go straight without violating the law?

Answer – I can see where the uncertainty may set in, because it is illegal in the state of Texas to turn without first signaling intent to turn at least 100 feet before making the turn. You’re correct. If you’re stopped in the straight travel lane at a traffic signal and you’re NOT 100 feet or more from the intersection, you CANNOT jump over and enter the turning lane legally to make the turn. You must continue to drive straight until you can legally make the turn. But if you’re in the turning lane, “YES,” Richard, you can turn on you turn signal and when it’s safe enter the straight lane. It doesn’t matter the distance you are away from the intersection. Moving from the turning lane to the straight lane is totally legal in the state of Texas.

Ronnie from Port Arthur Asks – I was at an intersection the other night and happened to be the only one at this intersection. As I entered the right lane I turned on my signal to turn right and thought, ‘dummy, you’re the only one there who are you signaling to?’ Are we required to signal if we are the only vehicle on the roadway?

Answer – This is something we all have to deal with, and that’s obeying the law or simply doing what’s right even when no one’s looking. YES, Ronnie you are still required to signal your intent to turn or change lanes even if you don’t see any other vehicles on the roadway. It’s simply called obeying the law or the Texas Transportation Code. Laws are not made to stop someone from getting tickets, but rather to prevent crashes, injures, property damage and death. So if we can change our driving behavior to obey the law even when no one is looking, we can create a safer motoring community in Port Arthur and Southeast Texas.

Cal from Port Arthur Asks – Officer Antoine I’ve been a resident of Port Arthur over 60 years and let me be the first to say I love my neighborhood and Port Arthur. Recently, I have been noticing my neighbors’ company parking their vehicles on the other side of the street directly behind my driveway, which causes difficulty when me or my wife wants to leave out of our driveway. I have approached my neighbors about this parking problem, and the vehicles were promptly moved. I’ve never called the Police about this problem. Is this illegal? What can be done about this parking problem?

Answer – You’re facing a parking situation that’s more of a nuisance to you and the Mrs. but actually legal. There are no laws in Texas that prohibit the driver of a motor vehicle from parking on the opposite side of a driveway. Cal, the best remedy for your parking dilemma is for you and the Mrs. to back your vehicles in the driveway (if you are able) so you can pull out of the driveway instead of trying to back out. Notifying your neighbors is also a wonderful practice, and if you need to call Port Arthur Police Department, please feel free to call and a officer will come and speak with you.

Join Officer Rickey Antoine for Ask A Cop Live, on KSAP 96.9 FM, “The Breeze” every Tuesday from 1 to 2 p.m. to listen as Officer Antoine discusses the Ask A Cop article. Tune in at ksapthebreeze.org, and call in live at 409-982-0247. Email your questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 and leave a message or mail additional questions to Officer Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!