Are U-Turns in Residential Districts Legal?

U-Turns in Residential Districts

On busy streets, we are commonly aided by U-turn signs telling us if we are or aren’t able to pull a 180. But, what about residential areas where no such signage exists?  It can be a bit confusing to someone who doesn’t know the U-turn laws, so let’s take a look at the laws surrounding California U-Turns in Residential Districts .

The Basis of Residential U-turn Laws in California

California Vehicle Code 22103 states, “No person in a residence district shall make a U-turn when any other vehicle is approaching from either direction within 200 feet, except at an intersection when the approaching vehicle is controlled by an official traffic control device.”

Essentially, you are usually able to make a U-turn in a residential district. You can even do this across a double yellow line. They key is to look out for other vehicles within 200 feet. But what if you are unable to see 200 feet in either direction because obstacles are blocking your view? In this case, carrying out a U-turn is illegal. The California vehicle code argues that if you cannot see the road within 200 feet, then a vehicle may be speeding around a corner or building, putting both that driver and yourself at risk in the case of pulling a U-turn.

Another instance where you can make a U-turn in a residential district—even when there are other vehicles within 200 feet—is whenever a traffic sign, light, or traffic signal light protects you from approaching vehicles. This means that if you are in a residential area next to an intersection with cars stopped at a red light, you are able to make a U-turn (not at the intersection itself) until the light turns green.

How Do I Know I’m In a Residential District?

You should be able to identify if you are in a “residential district,” before making your U-turn. A residential district is an area in which there are at least 16 houses or businesses within a quarter mile, or 13 houses or businesses if only on one side of the road. Another way to easily check if you are in a residential area, is to see if the speed limit is 25 miles per hour. If it is, you are likely in a residential zone. Generally, however, all you need to do is look around and use common sense—if the buildings around you are primarily homes, you’re almost certainly in a residential district.

Use GetDismissed to Avoid Paying Your U-turn Traffic Ticket

U-turn tickets may seem harmless, but they can actually carry high infraction costs. GetDismissed produces results in fighting tickets. We can contest infractions revolving around U-turn infractions, speeding, red lights, red light cameras, cell phones, signs (primarily stop signs), carpool violations, out of lane violations, and commercial violations.

If you are pulled over for U-turns in a residential district for making a possible illegal U-turn, be on the lookout when the traffic stop occurs, as any minor detail can play a part in dismissing your ticket. For example, take note of if there are any other vehicles within 200 feet, or if there are traffic signs, lights, or signals around. This information will be useful later on. If you have any questions about U-turn laws—or are considering using a ticket dismissal service—don’t hesitate to contact us.


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