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In Virginia does a right turn arrow in white painted on the street require you to turn right? Or does it also have to say right turn only? Or perhaps there has to be a physical sign? Or can this be ignored and you can continue straight, if the lane continues?

I guess the real question is what are the legal requirements to notify a driver that a lane is "right turn only" in Virginia?

2 Answers 2

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Virginia Driver's Manual, section 2 on page 11 states:

White lane arrows are curved or straight. If you are in a lane marked with a curved arrow or a curved arrow and the word ONLY, you must turn in the direction of the arrow. If your lane is marked with both a curved and straight arrow, you may turn or go straight.

The lane marking doesn't have to include the word only. A curved arrow is sufficient.

The above is from the second paragraph of the section on solid white lines on page 11. The first paragraph includes:

Arrows used with white lines indicate which turn may be made from the lane.

Earlier in the document, it briefly mentions signs that sign lane turning directions but there's no information on whether signs are required in addition to lane markings.

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  • I've wondered what is supposed to happen if the lane marking is covered by snow and there is no other turn sign. Commented May 21, 2023 at 16:53
  • @PhilFreedenberg Turn right carefully? Commented May 21, 2023 at 17:01
  • @AndrewMorton: The problem is that, if the arrow is covered, then you can't see it, so you would have no way of knowing that a turn is required.
    – Kevin
    Commented May 21, 2023 at 17:07
  • 1
    @Kevin Hence me italicising carefully ;) Commented May 21, 2023 at 17:10
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    @Kevin If there's so much snow that you can't see the arrow, you are unlikely to see the lane markings either. You do whatever you need to do to get home safely. My experience in Nothern VA, was that if there's a millimeter of snow on the roads, they tell people to stay home, and it's a good idea: almost no one knows how to drive in the snow there.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented May 22, 2023 at 15:01
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You must turn

The road rules state:

92 Traffic lane arrows

(1) If a driver is driving in a marked lane at an intersection (except a roundabout) and there are traffic lane arrows applying to the lane, the driver must—

(a) if the arrows indicate a single direction—drive in that direction, or

(b) if the arrows indicate 2 or more directions—drive in one of those directions.

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