U Turn Safety
When you make a U-turn, you turn around and go back the way you came. Before you do this, you need to scan for possible hazards, such as other vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles. Make the turn only from the far left lane quickly straighten your car and proceed in the other direction. You may cross a double white or a double yellow line to make a U-turn, if the turn can be made safely and legally. If the street has a center left turn lane, begin your U-turn in that lane.
You may make a U-turn in a residential district:
- If no vehicle approaching you is closer than 200 feet.
- Whenever a traffic sign or signal protects you from vehicles which are close.
U-Turn at Controlled Intersection
At an intersection, you may make a U-turn on a green light or green arrow unless a “No U-turn” sign is posted.
Before you make a U-turn on a divided highway, be sure you won’t drive over or across any dividing section, curb, or strip. This includes:
- Two sets of double lines marking a center divider except through an opening provided for turns.
- The unpaved median in the middle of the freeway.
Never make a U-turn on a highway by crossing a curb, strip of land, or two sets of double lines.
You may not make a U-turn:
- Where you cannot clearly see 200 feet in each direction because of a curve, hill, rain, fog, or other reason
- Where a “NO U-TURN” sign is posted
- When vehicles may hit you
- On a one-way street
- In front of a fire station. Never use a fire station driveway to turn around
- In a business district*, except at intersections or through openings in a concrete divider.
*Churches, apartments, multiple dwelling houses, clubs, and public buildings, other than schools, are considered to be business structures.
How to Make a U Turn
Regulations about U turns vary depending on where you are driving. Before you attempt to make a U turn, make sure that you know the rules concerning this particular type of turn. For instance, some areas allow U turns anywhere that there are no signs specifically prohibiting U turns. In other areas, U turns may be illegal at all times. Unless you are in an emergency situation, you do not want to put yourself in danger of getting a traffic citation for performing a U turn in a location where they are prohibited. A U turn is a relatively simply driving maneuver and can be safely performed by following these specific steps.
How Best To Proceed
While using proper lane changing techniques, merge into the left lane of the roadway on which you are driving.
Merge again into the turning lane to the far left of the side of the road on which you are driving. U turns are almost always performed at a location with a red light, therefore you should be able to use the turning laneas a place to wait for oncoming traffic to clear before beginning the U turn. Continue to keep your left turn signal on while you prepare to make this driving maneuver. This will help notify other drivers of your intentions.
Check for oncoming traffic. Making a U turn will take several seconds. If you have any apprehensions about being able to complete the turn before an oncoming vehicle reaches you, wait until that vehicle has passed. Do not be in a rush when completing a U turn.
Check for other vehicles turning into the lane or lanes you plan to enter from the other side of the roadway. Again, wait for all vehicles to clear before making a U turn.
When you are certain that there are no vehicles approaching, turn your vehicle to the left and drive into the closest possible lane. For example, if you are able to turn your vehicle tightly enough to enter the left lane of the opposite side of the roadway, do so first then merge into the right lane after checking for other motorists.
Complete your U turn quickly and smoothly. Return to normal speed as soon as possible. Turn off your turn signal.