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  • Writer's pictureBrad Keating

Are U Turns Illegal in Ohio?

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

U turns are a driving maneuver that all road users are very familiar with. If there is a need to turn around from a missed turn, going the wrong way, and so on, doing a u turn can get a vehicle back in the right direction.

It is a quick way to proceed in the opposite direction, instead of having to double back around or wait for a roundabout.

With that, though, an improper u turn can be, at worst, incredibly dangerous, and at best, a major annoyance for other road users. This has led to a lot of people wondering about the legality of u turns. It's not a standard maneuver, and to a lot of people, it feels like it should be against some form of rule or regulation.

While there are rules governing u turns, the act is not entirely illegal. Specifically, where one performs them dictates the legality of them. The code governing this is Ohio traffic code statute 4511.37, which states that u turns are prohibited on a curve or hill if the vehicle "cannot be seen within 500 feet by the driver of any other vehicle approaching from either direction."

This statute lays out the rules of u turns in Ohio vehicle/accident injury laws plainly. This statute doesn't, however, discuss anything related to no u turn signs. For example, if one comes across a no u turn sign, and performs a u turn by it regardless, they may be prosecuted in Ohio.

While Ohio state law outlines that you may use a u turn depending on the traffic situation, that combined with local law is a point of confusion for a lot of people. A perfect example is the revised code municipal order 2131.12 prohibits the use of u turns in the city of Columbus. Therefore, while one may perform the action believing to be following Ohio state law, they might still be ticketed by local law enforcement.

U Turns in Ohio

Are U Turns Legal in Cleveland, Ohio?

For the most part, yes, u turns are legal in Cleveland, Ohio. In fact, the local municipal code governing u turns for the city parrots the state code, so both have the same situational context regarding the legality of the maneuver.

What Are Illegal Turns?

There are countless situations in which a turn can be deemed illegal, and it primarily has to do with how safe or unsafe, the turn is.

For example, if a driver makes a right turn onto a road that has two lanes of traffic, the driver should stay to the right and not cross into the left lane. Doing so is called an illegal lane change.

An improper turning situation may also come about if one fails to clearly indicate or signal surrounding motorists and pedestrians as to their intentions.

A turning maneuver that is explicitly prohibited by signs is also considered to be against the law in the area in which the sign is posted. This includes if the sign limits the restrictions of a maneuver to specific times of day, on account of heavy traffic. Signs like that can include making a u turn or left turn.

If someone ends up turning wide, then they may also be in violation of various traffic laws. This violation, in particular, is very loose and primarily up to the judgment of the officer that is dealing with the offense. In most cases, if they can prove that they stayed as close to the edge of the road as possible, perhaps making room for parked cars, then they can fight any ticket that they receive in court.

Turning left on a red light is also illegal in Ohio when someone is turning from a one-way street onto another one-way street.

Lastly, performing a u turn in any of the outlined situations in a state's traffic code is also going to be a law violation.

Whether you want to find out the legal limit for window tint in Ohio or if it is illegal to flash your headlights to warn of police in Ohio, the personal injury attorneys at The Keating Firm LTD. can help you find the answers you are looking for.

Disclaimer: The details included in this blog is offered for educational purposes only, and should not be taken as lawful guidance in any way. No recipients of material from this blog, clients or otherwise, should or should not act on the basis of any material consisted in the blog without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional guidance on the particular facts and situations at issue from an attorney accredited in the recipient's state.


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