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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Are U-turns Illegal in Ohio? | Know the Law with Legal Experts

Contradictions in Ohio state law and local ordinances can make it challenging for road users to understand what is legal and what isn't. There are a lot of differing laws and rules on making a U-turn, which is why many drivers are questioning: are U-turns legal in Ohio?

Such differences in the law can cause confusion, and when the drivers don't know who has the right of way, it can increase the risk of car accidents. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have a deep understanding of Ohio law and the local municipal ordinances. They also have more insight to questions like Is it illegal to drive with interior lights on in Ohio?

The legal team has extensive experience in helping injured victims get the compensation they deserve. Those who have suffered injuries in a car accident in Ohio must reach out to it to learn more about their rights.

What Is a U-turn?

What Is a U-turn?

A U-turn is a useful driving maneuver that helps drivers get on the correct route. When a driver travels in an opposite direction to their destination, they may want to make a U-turn to ensure they're on the right track.

Since the vehicle has to turn in the opposite direction, the entire motion resembles the letter "U," hence the name.

Are U-turns Illegal in Ohio?

Making a U-turn is not illegal in Ohio. However, there are some rules that drivers must follow before they make a U-turn.

Under the Ohio traffic code statute 4511.37, U-turns are illegal on curves or hills where it may be impossible for other drivers to see the turning vehicle.

Confusion arises when there is an overlap or additional set of requirements that the drivers must fulfill before they make a U-turn. There are local laws that all road users must follow, and at the same time, they must obey the traffic rules.

Although U-turns are legal in most circumstances, law enforcement agencies might prosecute the drivers if they make a U-turn where there is a no U-turn sign. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help with other questions like Is it legal to settle car accident privately?

In short, there are three circumstances where making a U-turn is illegal in Ohio, and these include the following:

  • Near a hill or incline;

  • When the visibility is lower than 500 feet; and

  • When there is a traffic sign that prohibits making a U-turn.

All road users need to research their local laws. The legality of U-turns may vary depending on the municipality or jurisdiction. If that is the case, drivers and other road users must find another way to turn around.

Although Ohio state law does not make it illegal to execute a U-turn maneuver, municipal ordinance 2131.12, for example, prohibits all U-turns in Columbus City, and drivers failing to follow the law may receive a ticket from the local police officer.

Municipal laws may take precedence over state laws, which is why it is crucial for all road users to be aware of their local municipal code and motor vehicle rules and guidelines.

Drivers must determine whether the local ordinances and state law have the same situational context.

Why Are U-turns a Dangerous Driving Maneuver?

A U-turn is one of the most dangerous driving maneuvers if the driver fails to execute it properly. Most road users make a U-turn when they're unsure about the direction they're traveling in. This uncertainty, coupled with a difficult-to-pull U-turn, can increase the risk of a car accident, especially on a busy road or highway.

Another situation where a U-turn could be dangerous is when the driver executes a U-turn while the other driver in oncoming traffic makes a right turn. There may be a possibility that both drivers fail to see each other, resulting in a devastating car accident.

Many drivers also fail to account for the time it takes to make a U-turn and get up to speed with the other road users in the oncoming traffic. They might misjudge the distance and speed of the other vehicle approaching and execute the maneuver, which could lead to a catastrophic car accident.

U-turns are dangerous not only to other drivers and motorcyclists but also the pedestrians. When making a U-turn, the driver may be looking at the oncoming traffic rather than a pedestrian crossing the road. This can increase the risk of a pedestrian accident.

To execute a U-turn, some drivers turn wide or make a left turn on a red light in a bid to move from a one-way street to another. This can be dangerous and may lead to trouble with the local law enforcement officer.

Can Drivers of Emergency Vehicles Make a U-turn Anywhere They Want?

Emergency vehicle drivers can make a U-turn anywhere they want, as it could be a matter of life and death. However, there are certain requirements that they must fulfill before they can execute the maneuver.

Section B of the Ohio Revised Code 4511.37A states that the driver of an emergency vehicle or a public safety vehicle can only make a U-turn under the following conditions:

  • When they are responding to an emergency call;

  • Are displaying the vehicle's flashing, oscillating, or rotating light; and

  • Have an audible signal, siren, or whistle turned on to warn other road users.

When the emergency vehicle is on the road with an audible siren and flashing lights, all road users must yield the right of way and exercise caution to prevent collisions.

Who Is Liable in a U-turn Accident?

Who Is Liable in a U-turn Accident?

Determining liability in a U-turn accident can be challenging, especially if it involves multiple motor vehicles. There are many things that the injured victim must consider, such as the right of way, local ordinances, and state laws, among others.

Below is an example to illustrate how complex it is to determine fault in a U-turn accident:

Sarah realizes that she is heading in the wrong direction and decides to execute a U-turn. She fails to see Jenna, who is on the other road making a right turn. The two vehicles collide, causing injuries to both drivers.

In the above example, Sarah may be liable for the damages if Jenna turned right on a green light. Even though making a U-turn is legal in Ohio, the other driver may have had the right of way.

However, if Jenna makes the right turn at a red light, she may be liable for the damages caused by the accident.

There are many circumstances that the injured victim must consider before they can pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit. It's essential to reach out to experienced car accident attorneys to help investigate the accident, identify traffic violations by the other driver, and gather evidence to build a strong case.

Hurt in a U-turn Accident? Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Can Provide Legal Help!

Those who have suffered injuries in a U-turn accident due to another's negligence in Toledo, Ohio, should call (833) 692-5038 to schedule a free consultation with Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, as they may be eligible for compensation.


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