U-Turn Accident in Texas: Who’s to Blame? Insight from a Texas Car Accident Lawyer

by Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer, Tim O’Hare

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U-turns make it easier to get where you need to go, or to turn around if you’re headed the wrong way. While u-turns are typically legal in Texas, the simple driving maneuver is commonly to blame for car accidents on Texas roads. If you’ve been involved in a u-turn accident — perhaps you’ve been hit by a driver making a u-turn, who is at fault?

The answer to that question is not as simple as you may think, and as is true with most car accidents, it depends on a number of circumstances. For example:

  • Was the u-turn legal?
  • Did the driver execute a safe u-turn?
  • What other factors may have contributed to the accident?

Immediately following a u-turn accident, fault for the car wreck is often placed on the shoulders of the driver who made the u-turn. But it is not always true that the driver making the u-turn is at fault; there are some circumstances in which the other driver may actually be to blame. Here’s a closer look at u-turn accidents in Texas from a Dallas car accident attorney.

Was the u-turn made legally?
The first consideration as to who is at fault in an accident involving a u-turn is the legality of the turn. U-turns are generally legal in Texas, as long as there aren’t any posted signs stating that u-turns are prohibited in that intersection or location. 

In fact, there is only one Texas state law on the books specifically regarding u-turns. This law is found in the Traffic Code and applies to the visibility of the driver. It states that u-turns may be made legally as long as you are able to see at least 500 feet in the direction of oncoming traffic. In other words, if you are unable to see approaching traffic, it is neither safe nor legal to make a u-turn.

That said, many cities in Texas have their own ordinances which may limit u-turns in specific areas. Unfortunately, these regulations are not typically posted. Regardless of whether or not u-turns are allowed in a particular location, certain rules of safe driving still apply to making a u-turn in Texas. 

  • U-turns may only be made from the left lane.
  • A car may not cross across other lanes in order to make a u-turn.
  • When making a u-turn on a green arrow, oncoming traffic must be clear, including any vehicles making a right-hand turn.
  • When making a u-turn on a solid green light, the driver must yield to oncoming traffic.
  • If you are making a u-turn on a green signal, anyone else who may wish to make a right-on-red turn is required to yield to you. However, in many cases, the other driver may not know you are attempting a u-turn until they’ve already begun their turn, so be prepared to yield to the other driver.
  • When making a u-turn in an area without a traffic signal, the driver making the u-turn must yield to all other traffic.
  • Drivers must check for signs prohibiting u-turns. If the turn has already been initiated when the sign is seen, continue with a left-hand turn, rather than completing the u-turn.
  • When making a u-turn in a median, rather than an intersection, the driver must yield to any oncoming traffic. 
  • Do not attempt to make a u-turn in a space that is too tight. Doing so is considered making an unsafe u-turn. 
  • Do not jump out in front of cars when the gap between oncoming traffic is not wide enough to complete a safe u-turn.

These safe driving rules and regulations make it easy to see why most u-turn accidents in Texas are the fault of the driver making the u-turn. While u-turns can be convenient and save you a little bit of time, in high traffic areas, it can be tough to make a u-turn safely.

When is the u-turn driver not at fault?
While the fault often lands on the shoulders of the driver making the u-turn, it is possible that the driver was making a turn that was entirely safe and legal and is not at fault. In any accident involving a u-turn, certain questions must first be answered. These questions include:

  • Was the other driver texting or otherwise driving distracted?
  • Was the other driver intoxicated?
  • Did the other driver run a red light and hit the u-turn driver?
  • Did the other driver change lanes into the u-turn driver?

It is less likely that the driver not making the u-turn is at fault, if any of the above circumstances exist, blame for the accident may be on that driver, rather than the driver who made the u-turn.

When do you need to talk to an accident lawyer?
If you’ve been injured in a u-turn accident in Texas, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries. An experienced car accident lawyer can answer your questions, take a look at the circumstances surrounding the accident and help ensure you receive all due compensation.

It may be in your best interests to speak with an auto accident lawyer if:

  • You’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by another driver, or an uninsured motorist.
  • You require medical treatment for your injuries.
  • You have an insurance company to deal with
  • You want to ensure you receive what is fair, and what you truly deserve for your pain and suffering and other aspects of the claim.
  • You don’t want to be taken advantage of by an insurance company. 

If you’ve been injured in a u-turn accident in Texas, or any other accident that wasn’t your fault, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare to handle your case. Having a car accident lawyer on your side makes it more likely that you will receive all you are owed for your injuries, hospital bills and pain and suffering. Contact the experienced Dallas car accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare to guide you through your car wreck injury case and ensure you get everything you deserve. 

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