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Illegal U-Turn State Laws

Since U-turns can be dangerous, especially in heavy traffic, state traffic laws regulate the maneuver. Making an illegal U-turn is a moving violation and can result in a traffic ticket from a police officer and a fine.

A U-turn is a maneuver in which a motor vehicle makes a 180-degree left turn to reverse its direction. During a U-turn, the vehicle turns in the opposite direction, making a "U" shape. This maneuver often requires the full width of the roadway and can involve cutting across lanes.

U-turn permissions are often regulated by traffic signals and U-turn signs. Look for signs indicating whether U-turns are allowed or prohibited. Some intersections may have dedicated U-turn signals. Never make a U-turn where there is a sign or signal prohibiting it.

Although regulations vary by location, some common restrictions on U-turns include:

  • No U-turns in particular zones, such as school zones, railroad crossings, or areas with heavy pedestrian traffic
  • Business districts only allow U-turns at intersections or areas that are clearly marked
  • Motorists must be able to see all approaching cars and oncoming traffic, plus be free of all obstructions, before making a U-turn
  • Crosswalks must be free of pedestrians when making a U-turn
  • No U-turns on one-way streets
  • U-Turns restricted on highways or divided roadways
  • U-turns prohibited in front of fire stations

U-Turns and State and Local Laws

Traffic laws are determined at the state and local level, with U-turns usually covered in statutes that cover the following traffic regulations:

  • Restricted turns
  • Turning around
  • Turning on hills or crests
  • Required turn signals
  • Turning in intersections

Even if your local statute does not specifically reference the U-turn, these maneuvers are generally included under broader traffic regulations. This means you can still be ticketed for an illegal U-turn even if it's not explicitly mentioned in the local traffic code.

Penalties for Illegal U-Turns

Penalties for an illegal U-turn ticket vary based on jurisdiction.

Most often, a citation for an illegal U-turn will cost you a fine. The fine amount depends on local laws and whether it's a first-time traffic offense or a repeat violation. These types of citations can also add points to your driver's license in states that use point systems. Accumulating too many points can lead to further consequences, including license suspension.

Depending on your insurance company, you could also see an increase in your car insurance premiums.

Alabama

Alabama Code §32-5A-133

Alaska Alaska Statutes §28.35.410
Arizona Arizona Revised Statutes §28-752
Arkansas

Arkansas Code §27-51-402

California

California Vehicle Code §22100 - 22113

Colorado

Colorado Revised Statutes §42-4-902

Connecticut

Connecticut General Statutes §14-242

Delaware

Delaware Code §21-4153

District of Columbia

District of Columbia Municipal Regulations 2204.7 (link will download a Microsoft Word document)

Florida Florida Statutes §316.1515
Georgia

Georgia Code §40-6-121

Hawaii

Hawaii Revised Statutes

Idaho

Idaho Statutes §49-645

Illinois

Illinois Statutes §625-5/11-801-806

Indiana Indiana Code §9-21-8-21
Iowa Iowa Code §321.311
Kansas Kansas Statutes §8-1546
Kentucky

Kentucky Revised Statutes §189.400

Louisiana

Louisiana Revised Statutes §32:104

Maine Maine Revised Statutes §29-A.2072
Maryland

Maryland Code §21-402

Massachusetts

Code of Massachusetts Regulations §720-9.06-26

Michigan

Michigan Vehicle Code §257.647

Minnesota

Minnesota Statutes §169.19

Mississippi Mississippi Code §63-3-703
Missouri Missouri Revised Statutes §304.341
Montana Montana Code Annotated §61-8-334
Nebraska

Nebraska Revised Statutes §60-6, 160

Nevada Nevada Revised Statutes §484B.403
New Hampshire New Hampshire Statutes §265:45
New Jersey

New Jersey Statutes §39:4-125

New Mexico

New Mexico Statutes §66-7-325

New York

New York Consolidated Laws §71-7-28-1161

North Carolina North Carolina General Statutes §20-153
North Dakota

North Dakota Century Code §39-10-36

Ohio

Ohio Revised Code §4511.36

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Statutes §47-11-604

Oregon

Oregon Revised Statutes §811.365

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Statutes §75-3332

Rhode Island Rhode Island General Laws §31-16-4
South Carolina

South Carolina Code §56-5-2140

South Dakota

South Dakota Codified Laws §32-26-25

Tennessee Tennessee Code §55-8-142
Texas

Texas Transportation Code §545.101§545.102

Utah

Utah Code §41-6a-802

Vermont Vermont Statutes §23-1062
Virginia

Virginia Code §46.2-845

Washington Washington Revised Code §46.61.295
West Virginia

West Virginia Code §17C-8-8

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Code §346.33

Wyoming

Wyoming Statutes §31-5-215

Ticketed for an Illegal U-Turn? Get Legal Advice

Citations for illegal U-turns are straightforward and typically don't require help from an attorney. But if you're facing an increase in your auto insurance rates or too many points on your driving record, working with a traffic law attorney in your area may be in your best interest.

A traffic ticket attorney knowledgeable about local traffic laws can review your options and even help you contest the ticket. This could save you a costly fine and insurance costs. In some cases, it could even prevent a driver's license suspension.

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