Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

How Should a Driver Safely Execute U-Turns?

How Should a Driver Safely Execute U-Turns?

How should a driver safely execute U-turns? What qualifies as illegal u-turns in Kansas? Illegal u-turns are a significant problem in Kansas. In 2017, they contributed to just over 1,330 accidents in the state. Learning how to perform a u-turn safely is essential for not becoming the next statistic. Kansas statutes define an illegal u-turn as one that is unsafe and could interfere with other traffic.

Making a Legal U-Turn

Safely completing a u-turn is a skill that every driver should learn. At some point, every driver will need to make a u-turn. When performing a u-turn, the first step is to ensure the oncoming path is clear and that there are no vehicles within 200 feet on roads where the speed limit is between 20-30 mph. On roads with higher speed limits, it's advisable to increase that distance to 500-1000 feet, depending on the road's speed limit.

Drivers should always pull into the left lane and should never attempt to perform the turn from the right lane, as this is always an illegal maneuver. With the turn signal on, drivers should move ahead and prepare to apply the brake. It's important to apply the brake, but not to bring the vehicle to a complete stop. Instead, drivers should roll into the turn at a slow speed. When the vehicle is in the lane of travel, this helps expedite acceleration and bring the vehicle up to the appropriate speed of travel for the road.

Avoiding Citations for Illegal U-Turns in Kansas

Drivers in Kansas can receive a citation for making illegal u-turns in Kansas. Law enforcement has broad discretion to identify when a u-turn endangers other motorists or pedestrians; thus, individuals should exercise considerable caution when deciding to make a u-turn. The following are circumstances when law enforcement officers may decide to issue a citation for this type of moving violation:

  • While approaching or near the crest of a hill
  • Where obstructed views limit visibility to less than 500 feet
  • On a curve
  • Where a "No U-Turn" sign specifically prohibits u-turns
  • On a one way street
  • At railway crossings
  • In front of fire stations, police stations, and hospital entrances
  • In business districts
  • When crossing a double yellow line
  • When road conditions make a u-turn unsafe

Always Monitor Road Conditions & State Laws

Ice, snow, rain, and debris on the road can reduce traction and cause a vehicle to spin out of control when performing a u-turn. When weather conditions make performing a u-turn unsafe, it's advisable to avoid the maneuver and instead make a series of turns at intersections in order to head in the desired direction.

Further, never assume that different states have the same laws regarding u-turns. In fact, there are significant variations. While most are similar, it is advisable to quickly review the driving laws in the states you will pass through on the way to your destination. Knowing the law is the best way to avoid dealing with a traffic violation in Missouri, Texas, Colorado, etc.

Call Brad Pistotnik Law at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400. We represent clients who suffer injuries and property damage when another motorist performs illegal u-turns. We give free legal consultations on weekends, holidays and in the evenings. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can reach Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237.