The reality that automotive accident statistics don’t show is that accidents are very situational. People may be following a GPS signal, strange traffic patterns, or hard turns that make it difficult for anyone to maneuver properly. U-turn accidents are among those situational accidents that occur because the rules of the road can be a little murky in some areas.
Why Are U-turns So Dangerous?
When you make a U-turn, there is a certain amount of confusion if it is not an area that is clearly designated for left turns and U-turns. Unless you have a special lane and a green arrow directing you to safely merge into the inverse lane, it can be hard to let others know that you are making a U-turn and to estimate whether you have sufficient clearance to make the U-turn in one single turn.
In some cases, the lanes are too narrow. And instead of being able to swiftly turn in the opposite direction, you find yourself going through a three-point turn. You may have to back up and readjust your angle if there is not sufficient clearance. This feels very dangerous when the light is ready to turn and traffic is heading in your direction.
The worst part about U-turns is that you will see signs where it is not legal to make a U-turn when the GPS directions are instructing you to make one. This creates a lot of confusion and may delay your route to the point of being tempted to take an illegal U-turn. Depending on the state that you are driving in, you may only be able to make U-turns in places where the signs clearly designate the right.
Determining Fault In U-turn Accidents
Determining fault in any automobile accident is not easy. There are a number of factors that can come into play. In the majority of the cases, both parties are partly at fault because drivers have a duty to drive defensively even if another party makes the error. However, if you are the one who is violating the rules of the road, then you would have the most fault in any accident. Although you have to check the state and local laws to determine whether your U-turn was illegal, most highway U-turns are illegal if there is no sign authorizing a U-turn.
On smaller roads and back alleys, a U-turn is more like a parking maneuver. As long as you are not blocking traffic, you won’t likely experience a problem. It is when drivers try to make U-turns on highways with double yellow lines that a breach of the law is plain. Many highways now have a center yellow turning lane that can be used to turn in either direction. If you are unsure whether there is sufficient space to make a U-turn in a single turn, it is better to turn into the nearest parking lot to turn around.