One of the challenges of driving is determining what your next move is going to be. You have to be aware of where you are, where others are, and then act according to how you think those around you are going to act.

It’s hard because none of us are mind readers and some people are worse at it than others. When we see another driver do something unexpected, we almost automatically call them a harsh name and assume they broke some sort of law. But sometimes they aren’t breaking any laws other than being a little more risky in their decisions.

Is It Illegal to Change Lanes in CA Intersections?

For example, a driving move was recently executed by a self driving car that made people question the legality of the move. The Tesla with the latest software update, FSD v12.3.4, was trapped behind slow moving vehicles at an intersection and decided to change lanes in the intersection to pass on the left.

Seems risky, but it’s totally legal in California. In fact, it’s legal pretty much everywhere. The only law regarding intersection lane changes is buried in other laws that tell you to drive safely. So, you might not be pulled over for a lane violation but you may be pulled over for reckless driving if the cop determines the move was unsafe. Once again you have to base your moves on how you think other drivers will react.

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Let’s get back to the Tesla real quick. The lane change in an intersection to pass 2 other cars is interesting for a few reasons. First, how did the car know that it was only a few cars and that it would be able to get back over so quickly? It couldn’t see what was in front of that second car, right? Second, the fact that the car knows the driving rules better than the rest of us is scary but also promising for the future of self driving vehicles.

I don’t want the robots to take over the world, but I’d rather have a car program argue my questionable movements than have to explain them myself. Especially if the white lights get added to traffic signals any time soon.

RELATED STORY: Will White Lights Be Added to Traffic Signals to Help Autonomous Cars

Watch the Anaheim Police (some of which are driving in Tesla patrol cars now) explain the intersection lane change rules below.

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