U turns are technically legal in Michigan in that state law does not specifically prohibit them, although cities, villages and towns can do so. They must be “made in safety” and not otherwise violate any state or local traffic safety laws. Drivers using this driving maneuver must always yield the right of way to other traffic.
Although this driving maneuver is permitted, they are still dangerous and should be avoided whenever possible.
What is a U turn?
A U turn is a 180-degree turn that is used to quickly reverse direction on a road that’s not divided by a median. I’m sure many of us have used this driving maneuver when in a rush or when we think no one is looking.
What does the Michigan State Police say about whether U turns are legal in Michigan?
The Michigan State Police takes the position that a U turn is legal in Michigan so long as it can be done: (1) safely; (2) not carelessly or recklessly; (3) while yielding to other traffic with the right of way; and (4) without violating a local ordinance that prohibits them.
Are they legal in cities, villages and townships?
Cities, villages and/or townships can prohibit them if they have adopted Rule 434 of the Uniform Traffic Code, which provides the “driver of any vehicle shall not turn the vehicle so as to proceed in the opposite direction on any street in a business district and shall not, on any other street, so turn a vehicle unless the movement can be made in safety and without interfering with other traffic.” (See R 28.1434)
Can you get a ticket for making one even though they are permitted?
Even though U turns are legal under Michigan law, you could get a ticket for: (1) disobeying a sign prohibiting U turns (MCL 257.611(1)); (2) speeding (MCL 257.627(1)); (3) reckless driving (MCL 257.626); (4) careless or negligent driving (MCL 257.626b); (5) impeding traffic (MCL 257.676b(1)); and/or (6) a turn not “made in safety” (MCL 257.648(1)).
Even though U turns are legal in Michigan, are they dangerous?
This driving maneuver is more dangerous than many other types of driving maneuvers. It is easy – and common- for a driver to underestimate distance and speed of oncoming vehicles. Also, other drivers on the road are not expecting you do one.
As an auto accident lawyer, I have seen more than my share of these driving maneuvers gone wrong. My advice is to avoid using this driving maneuver whenever possible.
Injured in a car accident? Call the auto accident attorneys at Michigan Auto Law
If you were injured in a car accident in Michigan caused by a driver who made this driving maneuver and have questions about your legal rights to compensation for pain and suffering damage, economic damages and auto No-Fault insurance benefits, you can speak to an experienced car accident lawyer at (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation. You can also get help from an experienced No-Fault insurance attorney by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website.
(Source: Michigan State Police, “Traffic Laws FAQs”)