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What is an Illegal U-Turn?

A speeding car turning right.

You are driving to somewhere relaxed, and suddenly you realize that you might have come too far or are on the wrong path. And like most drivers, what do you do? Most probably, you take a hasty and illegal U-turn. If you are lucky, you safely continue driving along the road without an obtrusion. But if you are like most of those drivers, you are in turn for a greeting with the police siren or, the worst, an unfortunate accident. Today, millions die, and more face serious harm every year due to traffic accidents. And as doctors and nurses would account for, many of them are results of these very illegal U-turns.

What is a U-turn?

When while driving, you decide to alter the direction you’re in, and to do that, you turn around, making a 180 degrees rotation. This whole action is roughly in the shape of a U, and thus, a U-turn. In certain areas, you will find traffic signals regulating U-turns, or U-turns restricted to certain personnel only, or a U-turn permitting sign or a U-turn only, and so on.

Every state has its laws regarding U-turns. Many states impose quite strict U-turn laws where they are prohibited in several situations. And despite the unconstrained laws in certain states, the risk factor remains universal.

When Should You Avoid Making A U-Turn?

The legality of a U-turn will vary from state to state. Certain U-turns can be deemed illegal according to the jurisdiction you are under and legal under another, and almost always unsafe. Hence, during a U-turn, you must stay extremely alert of the oncoming vehicles and their speed. And when should you avoid making them at all?

  • It is simple, you see a “No U-turn sign,” and you don’t make it.
  • When you drive along a one-way street, you should never make a U-turn, no matter the extra hassle. Doing so will put you at tremendous risk, no matter the traffic.
  • If obstructions are blocking your view on either side, avoid making the U-turn.
  • U-turns are illegal at railroad crossings.
  • While driving through a divided highway, and the only thing barring you from making a U-turn are sets of double yellow lines or a divider, or any other restraint. That is your signal for U-turn prohibition. Remember, U-turns at highways are extremely unsafe, no matter how convenient. So make a U-turn only if you see an opening disrupting the provided division without a U-turn prohibited sign.
  • Undivided highways.
  • U-turns in front of fire stations are a big NO almost everywhere.
  • In most business districts, U-turns are legal only when there is an intersection or an opening with a permitted U-turn sign.
  • You should not make a U-turn in residential districts if you find vehicles approaching from either direction till up to 150 meters unless it is an intersection with controlled traffic.
  • Nearby or in a bridge or a tunnel as there your view of the traffic is limited.

How To Make A Proper U-Turn?

We have established when or how not to make an illegal U-turn. So, here are a few instructions to help you access a proper U-turn.

  • At the time of a U-turn, you must make sure there are no oncoming vehicles to a limit of 200 feet, and also pedestrians are absent on the crosswalk.
  • Make sure your left turn signal is on.
  • Make sure your foot is on the brake, and you are moving straight ahead.
  • Your car should be on the right side of the lane, ready to sway to the left.
  • Once the divider is clear, rotate your steering wheel left rapidly.
  • Always slow down before and during making the U-turn. Apply brake at the start of turning your vehicle.
  • Once the turn is complete, slowly and steadily accelerate.
  • Eventually, resume your normal driving speed.

Consequences Of Illegal U-Turns

An illegal U-turn can cost you getting a ticket. It will also add points to your driving record, resulting in your insurance company dropping you or increasing their rate. Fines can amount up to hundreds of dollars. If you are 21 and older and cause frequent illegal U-turns, resulting in 3 tickets a year, your license can be revoked. You might also face increased insurance rates, fines, traffic school, court charges, annulled license, etc.

Overall illegal U-turns can be harassing. And even if you do skip the eyes of the law, you are still undertaking a high accident risk at your own sake. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry.

If you or someone you know needs assistance with illegal U-turns, we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more.

Jay A. Bolotin is a partner at the injury law firm of Young, Reverman & Bolotin. Serving the people of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, Jay dedicates his career to helping clients in the tri-state area obtain financial compensation after suffering serious injuries. He focuses his practice on cases involving car accidents, trucking accidents, dog bites and animal attacks, and other types of personal injury incidents.

Years of Experience: More than 25 years
Registration Status:: Active
Bar Admissions: Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Cincinati Bar Association