Are U-Turns Legal in Los Angeles?

If you check out the California Driver Handbook you’ll see that there is plenty of information about all turns, including u-turns. They even break u-turns down, showing two sections that highlight examples of legal and illegal u-turns. If you read this, there should be no doubt about whether your turn is legal or illegal, right?

Wrong! There will always be doubt, especially since the average driver lacks the confidence and knowledge necessary to operate their vehicle safely and efficiently. Even if someone clearly understands what a double yellow line is, their vision might be impaired so there is always a margin for error.

You might not know when you’re in a residential district or on a divided highway, especially if you’re visiting from another state or country where there are no highways. (There may be highways, but they know them as parkways or freeways.) Now, the margin for error and performing an illegal u-turn increases.

If you look even closer at the illegal u-turn section, you’ll see a longer list that includes vague listings such as “when other vehicles may hit you” or “in business districts.” Reading this page in the handbook, whether it’s online or in a physical copy, may definitely cause you to think a second or third time about that u-turn.

That brings us to the bottom line… make a safe and responsible u-turn and the chances that you’ll be pulled over are far lower than if you made a quick and reckless one. You’ll need equally strong mental and physical efforts since timing is key but the turn must be executed perfectly. Be fully aware of your vehicle’s turning radius and any other traffic on the road and of course, look for “No U-Turn” signs first. 

(The featured image shows someone who performed an illegal and poorly executed u-turn.)


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