Depending on how and where they occur, U-turns can be highly risky maneuvers.
All too often, motorists make a hasty decision to make a U-turn at the wrong place and in the incorrect manner. This can lead to collisions and even fatalities. Because a U-turn is an unexpected maneuver, it typically does not allow time for any faster moving vehicles to change course and avoid an accident.
However, if executed properly, U-turns can be expeditious and relatively safe. Experts offer the following advice to drivers when it comes to the proper, safe way to perform a U-turn.
Know the Law
First and foremost, commercial drivers must make it their business to know where it is legal—and where it is illegal—to perform a U-turn. In many areas, for example, U-turns are prohibited if they are done on a curve, on the crest of a hill, at a traffic light, in a business district, or if there is a sign prohibiting U-turns or if they interfere with traffic.
Where to Make U-turns
U-turns can be made most safely in a cul-de-sac or on a dead end street. Drivers should bear in mind that while it may be legal, the move becomes more risky at T-intersections and on multi-lane roads.
Steps for Making a Proper U-turn
Slow down — the slower you go, the sharper the vehicle turns.
Make sure there's plenty of space — The larger your vehicle, the more challenging it is to make a U-turn. Bear in mind that sometimes there simply isn't enough room to execute one, so you may have to do a 3-point turn instead.
Observe carefully — Check the traffic behind you as well as any coming toward you. Use over the shoulder checks and 360 degree scans to ensure you are clear of all traffic.
Use your signal — If at an intersection, you'll want to first signal to the right, and pull over as far right as possible because you'll need ample space for the wide turn. Then once clear of traffic, signal left and make your U-turn.
Cancel your signal — Be sure to immediately cancel your signal if it's still on, and bring the steering wheel back to straight.
Keep in mind — If you plan to make a U-turn on a multi-lane road, you'll need three lanes of traffic to do so expediently.