A U-turn is a traffic maneuver where a car makes a 180-degree turn onto a road that goes in the opposite direction. This is something we’ve all done after missing the correct turn to save time and avoid getting lost. It should be something that is performed responsibly by slowing down, remaining in the far-left lane, and using our turn signal.
However, there are drivers making illegal U-turns whose negligence causes an accident and risks a potentially disastrous outcome. Understanding the legality of U-turns and who’s at fault for a U-turn accident in California is something Attorney Jeff Injury Lawyers can provide more clarity on with a free consultation.
Are U-Turns Legal in California?
California vehicle codes state that U-turns are legal, but there are situations in which a driver should never make a U-turn. Additionally, just because they are legal doesn’t mean a driver cannot get cited for other violations, such as neglecting to use a blinker or speeding during the act of making the U-turn. These violations could result in fines of up to $400 as well as receiving a point on their driving record.
When it is legal to make a U-Turn
- Across a double line
- In a residential area if other cars are not within 200 feet
- At an intersection during a green light as long as there are no signs indicating otherwise
- On a highway if a divider opening is provided for turns and U-turns
When it is illegal to make a U-Turn
- Where there is a “no U-turn” sign
- At a railroad crossing
- In business districts
- On one-way streets
- In front of or on a fire station’s driveway
- On a divided highway where there are double yellow lines or strips of land in the center
What Makes a U-Turn Accident in California so Dangerous?
As U-turns are made, the driver is turning into oncoming traffic that may not have enough time to slow down. A driver making a U-turn must also yield to traffic making a right turn. It is also not uncommon for a driver making a U-turning to rear-end another motorist because it is difficult to see ahead onto a street that a driver isn’t facing.
Also, it is not just other cars that are at risk of being hit, there’s also the risk of striking a pedestrian or bicyclist.
U-Turns and pedestrians
If a pedestrian has the right-of-way while crossing an intersection and gets hit by a car making a U-turn, they are entitled to file a claim. Older adults and children are at a higher risk of being struck by a car, so sharing the road and being cognizant of their surroundings are life-saving behaviors.
U-Turns and bicyclists
Especially in larger cities, bicyclists are everywhere and have the right to ride on the road. Most states provide designated sections on the street for them to ride on. A bicyclist who is making a right turn at an intersection may be struck by a driver making a U-turn into the street that the both of them want to use.
Sharing the road is important, and if you are involved in a bike or pedestrian accident, an experienced car accident attorney will be able to determine the next legal steps.
Who is Liable for a U-Turn Accident in California?
California law states that if a driver makes an illegal U-turn and causes a crash, they can be held liable for damages. For a victim to receive compensation for injuries sustained, they will need to prove that the driver broke the law by making an illegal U-turn. Proving the U-turn was illegal is a statutory violation that constitutes negligence per se. This is usually easier to prove than ordinary negligence due to the difficulty in confirming that it was a lack of caution by the driver.
U-turns can be very dangerous turns and whether they are legal or illegal instances, the driver should always exercise 100% caution. Additionally, there are other scenarios where the driver could be held liable regardless of the law, such as driving while intoxicated or running a red light.
The team at Attorney Jeff Injury Lawyers is equipped with the knowledge and resources to conduct a full investigation of the claim and pursue full compensation for the victim of a U-turn accident.
Discuss Your U-Turn Accident Situation with an Injury Attorney in California
U-turn accidents can cause debilitating injuries that last a lifetime. If you or a loved one in Southern California are involved in a U-turn accident, you deserve expert insight on the best course of action. Attorney Jeff Injury Lawyers are dedicated attorneys that will advocate for your fair compensation. Contact our offices today for more information and your consultation.
U-Turn Accident FAQs
What should I do after a U-turn accident?
If a driver making a U-turn strikes you or your vehicle, get prompt medical attention. Have photos taken of the intersection and the vehicles involved if possible. Then, contact an attorney.
What injuries are common in U-turn accidents?
Since these collisions range from head-on to T-bone impacts, victims may suffer spine and head injuries, plus broken bones and internal organ damage.