Glossary: U-Turn 

Posted: September 14, 2022

William Mattar Glossary


Some motorists try to execute U-turns when they wish to change directions and drive in the opposite direction. Many U-turns occur at intersections where a sign specifically permits them. However, some U-turns are risky or illegal and may contribute to a motor vehicle accident. 

U-Turns & New York Law  

There are some situations where New York law motorists may not make U-turns because they would violate the Vehicle and Traffic Law. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, drivers may not make U-turns if they are near the top of a hill, curve, or any other location where another driver may not see their vehicle from 500 feet away. Further, motorists may not make U-turns on limited access expressways or school zones. Of course, motorists are also prohibited from making U-turns where “NO U-TURN” signs are present. New York motorists should always familiarize themselves with the Vehicle and Traffic Laws, which govern the operation of motor vehicles on New York roads.  

Exercising Caution Even Where U-Turns Are Permitted

Even where U-turns are not expressly prohibited, a motorist who causes an accident while performing a U-turn can still be found liable. Given that motorists must always act reasonably under the circumstances, a driver who performs a U-turn without due care, thus causing an accident, may be liable for any resulting injuries. For example, this may occur if a driver failed to yield the right of way to other vehicles while executing a U-turn or if a driver attempted to make a U-turn in an area with poor visibility.   

U-turn accidents may result when motorists violate traffic laws or are otherwise careless in their attempt to perform one, resulting in a potential accident. U-turn accidents can result in serious life-altering injuries including traumatic brain, neck, and spinal cord injuries.  

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