Though most of us think of U-turns as a quick fix when we go the wrong way, this simple maneuver is notorious for causing car accidents. If you're involved in a U-turn accident in Texas, you're probably wondering who's at fault. The answer will depend on a number of circumstances, including:
- Was the U-turn legal?
- Was the U-turn made safely?
- Were there any other contributing factors?
After a U-turn accident, fault is usually placed on the driver making the turn, but not always.
Was the U-Turn Legal?
In Texas, U-turns are generally legal as long as there aren't any signs in the intersection that prohibit them. However, there are certain rules that apply to U-turns in all intersections, regardless of whether a sign is present. For instance, U-turns must be made from the left lane; it's always illegal for a car to cut across two or three lanes to perform a U-turn.
Additionally, drivers making U-Turns must follow these Texas laws:
- When making a U-turn on a green arrow: Drivers must wait for any traffic on the left hand side to clear, including vehicles that are making a right hand turn.
- When making a U-turn on a solid green light: The turning driver must yield to approaching traffic, including cars making a right hand turn from a side lane into the lane the turner wishes to enter.
- When making a U-turn in a lane without a traffic signal: Texas law requires the U-turner to yield to all other traffic.
- In an intersection that prohibits U-turns: Texas has plenty of these; intersections with a sign that prohibits U-turns. It's the driver's job to check for these signs before turning - if you see one after you've entered the left lane, simply make a left hand turn.
- When making a U-turn at a median: This, as opposed to making a U-turn in an intersection. These points are usually designated for U-turns, but the turner still needs to yield to oncoming traffic.
As you can see, the responsibility during a U-turn lies with the turner. For this reason, most U-turn accident are also the fault of the turner.
Was the U-Turn Made Safely?
Clearly, the turning driver must stop and look to make sure the path is clear before making a U-turn. If a driver speeds through the turn, that's considered "unsafe." If they try to make a U-turn in a space that's too tight, or jump out in a gap of cars that's not wide enough, it's also deemed an unsafe U-turn.
When Is the "Turning" Driver Not At-Fault for a U-Turn Wreck?
It depends on the circumstances of the wreck. Was the other driver texting and therefore not paying attention? Did they run a red light? Did they change lanes into the U-turner? These sorts of questions need to be answered before the blame is put on the turning driver.
Claiming Compensation After a U-Turn Accident
If you've been hurt in a U-turn accident in Texas, you have rights. I'd encourage you to speak with your personal injury attorney, who can help establish fault and ensure you're compensated fairly for your damages.