How to Turn in a Median in TexasApril 29, 2020
The Rules for Turning in Medians in Texas Involve Some Math!
When you’re making a left-hand turn into a median, are you supposed to cross to the far side of the median, in front of another vehicle—or should you stay to the left, so another vehicle would pass in the median on your right side?
The rules for how to turn in medians vary from state to state. That alone can be a source of confusion.
But, guess what?
In Texas, the rules also vary based on how wide the median is.
How to Turn in a Median That’s Less than 30 Ft. Wide
In these narrower medians, drivers should:
- Hug the left side, staying tight to the side of the median that’s closest to them
- Not cross in front of another vehicle entering the median from a lane of oncoming traffic
These rules are designed to make the best of use of the limited space available in medians that are less than 30 feet wide.
How to Turn in a Median That’s at Least 30 Ft. Wide
When medians in Texas are 30 feet or wider, they are considered to be intersections. As such, drivers entering these medians should:
- Cross to the far side of the median, so they are closer to the right side of the median
- Cross in front of any driver entering the median from a lane of oncoming traffic
With more available space, there’s room for vehicles to safely cross each other and occupy the right lane in the intersection created by these medians.
How to Gauge the Width of a Median
Can you eyeball 30 feet? If you can’t, here are some easy ways to determine how wide a median is and when you should and should not use the intersection rules for turning in these areas.
If any of the following apply to the median, use the intersection turning rules:
- The median looks to be at least half the size of a bowling lane.
- The median appears to be about 3/5 to 2/3 the size of a tractor-trailer.
- The median has stop signs and/or yield signs.
- The median has double yellow lines, dividing the lanes of traffic.
Why the Rules for Median Turning in Texas Vary by the Width of the Median
There’s a clear logic to the rules for turning in medians in Texas. After all, it makes sense that you would not want to try crossing to the opposite side of a narrower median.
And that logic is backed up by statistics. In fact, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA):
- Medians that are narrower than 20 feet “decrease the level of roadway safety.”
- Medians that are at least 30 feet “have a positive safety effect.”
- The safety of medians increases as median widths increase, topping out at 80 feet (after which there are no additional safety benefits for wider medians).
By knowing how to navigate different medians in Sugar Land, Houston, and across the state of Texas, you can stay safe on the roads and reduce your risk of a crash.