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Although they are completely legal most of the time, many people are hesitant to take a U-Turn. For some, they don’t feel confident about the speed of “hidden” oncoming vehicles. For others, they don’t feel the roadway is wide enough for a U-Turn.
In most cases, U-Turns are completely legal unless otherwise posted. In the video below, you’ll see a Cadillac CTS take a U-Turn while a Hyundai Elantra was taking a right onto the same lane – resulting in an accident. The Cadillac seems like it had a dedicated green light to take a left. It took a U-Turn instead. Meanwhile, a Hyundai Elantra was taking a right turn and got hit by the U-Turning Cadillac.
So who was wrong here? On one side, you have the Cadillac who has taken a U-Turn and a Hyundai that has taken a right turn – both completely reasonable actions. On the other hand however, you’ll notice a sign beside the Cadillac’s traffic signal that might indicate U-Turns were not allowed. But hold on, the Hyundai may not be completely innocent here either. It seems to have speedily taken that right turn without coming completely to a stop – didn’t it? Nope. Judging by the Google Street View image of the intersection the accident happened, you can see the Elantra has a dedicated Right Turn signal. So while it was permitted to take a right, the Cadillac may have disobeyed its posted signs and caused the accident.
Google Street View image of the traffic signal probabilities shown to the Elantra. Dedicated Right turn signal is visible.
We thought we’d share some tips to help you take U-Turns more confidently.
Always judge the speed of oncoming vehicles before taking a U-Turn.
Remember in the best cases, it takes 5 seconds to complete a U-Turn, so ensure you have enough time.
Always look at the right lane of crossing traffic to see if there are any vehicles taking a right into your roadway. That was the accident-causing issue in this video!
Never take a U-Turn on high-speed roadways without ensuring oncoming traffic is at least 500 meters away.
Avoid taking a U-Turn on narrow roadways that might require you to reverse.
For a better turning radius, position your vehicle at the rightmost edge of your lane before taking the U-Turn.
And most importantly, always follow posted signs for taking a U-Turn.