U-Turn Collisions

uturnThough it may seem a very ordinary occurrence during driving, executing a U-turn may be one of the most dangerous driving maneuvers, and a common cause of collisions.  The reasons for this are that when executing a U-turn, the driver must be aware of oncoming traffic, traffic that may be making a right turn at an opposite corner, as well as the traffic behind him or her.  This is a lot to be aware of.  Also, a U-turn takes longer to complete than a standard turn, so a longer break in traffic is required in order for the U-turn to be completed safely.

When a collision occurs involving a U-turn, the circumstances surrounding the maneuver will determine liability. For example, a driver making a U-turn from the wrong lane, or a turn lane designated as “no U-Turn” would likely be found liable if such a move resulted in a collision.  A common scenario is when a driver pulls to the side of the road and, after presumably waiting for traffic to clear, executes a U-turn across lanes to go in the opposite direction.  This move is dangerous, as visibility can be impaired, and can result in a T-bone type collision, which often result in more severe injuries.

The California Vehicle Code has several statutes that pertain to U-turns. They are outlined below:

  • 22100.5.  No driver shall make a U-turn at an intersection controlled by official traffic signals except as provided in Section 21451, and then only from the far lefthand lane that is lawfully
    available to traffic moving in the direction of travel from which the turn is commenced. No driver shall make a U-turn at an intersection controlled by official traffic control devices except from the far lefthand lane that is lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel from which the turn is commenced.
  • 22102.  No person in a business district shall make a U-turn, except at an intersection, or on a divided highway where an opening has been provided in accordance with Section 21651. This  turning movement shall be made as close as practicable to the extreme left-hand edge of the lanes moving in the driver’s direction of travel immediately prior to the initiation of the turning movement, when more than one lane in the direction of travel is present.
  • 22103.  No person in a residence district shall make a U-turn when any other vehicle is approaching from either direction within 200 feet, except at an intersection when the approaching vehicle is controlled by an official traffic control device.
  • 22104.  No person shall make a U-turn in front of the driveway entrance or approaches to a fire station. No person shall use the driveway entrance or approaches to a fire station for the purpose of turning a vehicle so as to proceed in the opposite direction.
  • 22105.  No person shall make a U-turn upon any highway where the driver of such vehicle does not have an unobstructed view for 200 feet in both directions along the highway and of any traffic thereon.

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