Making a Safe U-Turn
January 30, 2012
Intersection crashes cause the most number of fatalities more than any other crash location. Not only are they spots where red light runners might cause dangers, but also consider the fact that drivers making an innocent U-turn usually become involved if there ever was a crash.
What is truly important is: before making a U-Turn, make sure that you are aware of your state’s laws. Some states allow U-Turns at any intersection, unless there is a traffic sign that states: “No U-Turn Allowed”. There are other states that only allow for U-Turns when there is a “U-Turn Permitted” traffic sign. Almost all states do not allow U-Turns over double yellow lines painted on the road.
You may only make a U-Turn when the traffic light facing you is either a green arrow permitting a U-Turn, or a solid green light. Many people incorrectly assume that they can make a U-Turn while the light is red, even if their vehicle was a considerable distance from the center of the intersection. This is a violation, because doing so is still running a red light.
Here are some rules to making a safe U-Turn:
- Plan your U-Turn by looking for pedestrians or individuals riding bicycles. This means checking if you might hit someone or something when turning into the opposite direction.
- Always look in both directions before beginning your turn. If the light facing you has turned green, wait a second or two for possible red light runners coming from the opposite direction. This is the one tip that might save you the hassle of a crash.
- It’s a good idea to take your foot off the accelerator and moving it closer to the brake, should you need to stop, or when an emergency situation arises.
- If you have started your turn and the light changes, complete your turn as soon as traffic clears. Never try to back up in an effort to avoid blocking the intersection.
- It is important to note that you should always be making your U-Turn while you are at the left portion of the lane closest to the center line of the road. You are not allowed to make a U-Turn near the crest of a hill, a curve, or any other place where other drivers cannot see you from at least 500 feet away from the same direction.
U-Turns are the best way to get back to a location you missed, and making sure you know the right safety precautions while taking them assures you that you get there faster, and safer.