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When cross traffic is heavy, frustrated motorists sometimes take matters into their own hands, nosing their way into the flow any way they can. But is it legal? That’s what Road Warrior reader Ralph wanted to know.

Question: I see people turning right from Merced Avenue onto Highway 12, eastbound, and using the shoulder as if it was a merging lane on the freeway. Is this legal? It seems dangerous and just plain stupid.

Same with using the suicide lanes as merging lanes. – Ralph

Answer: The right shoulder should not be used as a merging lane, and drivers could be cited for doing that. They should wait until oncoming traffic is clear to turn.

As for the “suicide lane,” I assume he is refering to the middle turn lane. You cannot drive in the middle turn lane for more than 200 feet, but you can use it to merge as long as you are under that. – Officer Jon Sloat, CHP spokesman

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