In an effort to protect its motorist, the state of Georgia has passed a particularly restrictive set of laws regarding how motor vehicle drivers should make u-turns. This law is designed to decrease the large number of accidents that occur each year in the state of Georgia involving motor vehicle drivers who have made improper u-turns. Understanding the applicable law and key details about u-turns in the state of Georgia is one way that motor vehicle drivers can prepare for being charged with such an offense. A second excellent preparation step is to understand that quickly retaining legal counsel after being charged with an illegal u-turn is often an excellent idea as well.
How to Perform a Lawful U-Turn
All motor vehicle operators in the state of Georgia should understand how to properly perform a u-turn. A lawful u-turn requires the following steps:
- Look. Prior to performing the u-turn, motor vehicle drivers should be sure that the path in question is clear which includes making sure that approaching vehicles are more than two hundred feet away and that the crosswalk is free of pedestrians.
- Signal. Motor vehicle drivers should turn on their left signal to notify to other individuals in the area that the driver plans on making a left turn.
- Proceed Forward. Motor vehicle drivers should proceed forward with one foot still on the brakes.
- Stay to the Right Side of the Lane. Motor vehicle operators should make sure that the vehicle remains in the right side of the lane in preparation for a swing to the left.
- Turn the Steering Wheel. Once the median is cleared, motor vehicle drivers should turn their steering wheel as far to the left as possible.
- Accelerate. While exiting the u-turn, motor vehicle drivers should begin to accelerate slightly.
- Resume Normal Speed. Once a motor vehicle driver has fully completed the turn, the driver should resume normal speed.
Applicable Laws Concerning U-Turns
Because making a u-turn is among the most complicated driving techniques that a motor vehicle operator can perform, it is important for all motor vehicle drivers to understand the amount of caution that is required in such a situation.
Law in the state of Georgia requires motor vehicle drivers to make and complete u-turns upon any curve or stretch of road that approaches or is near the crest of a hill. U-turns in areas involving hills are particularly dangerous because other vehicles around the curve or hill cannot see the approaching vehicle.
Also according to the law in the state of Georgia, a motor vehicle operator is not permitted to make a u-turn if the turn cannot be made safely or without getting in the way of approaching traffic.
U-turns in the state of Georgia are also banned in Georgia on all stretches of roads or highways where a sign prohibiting the action is posted.
In addition to obeying posted signs regarding u-turns, motor vehicle drivers must also make sure to check for oncoming traffic and pedestrians. These laws regarding u-turns were made both to protect motor vehicle drivers while also protect all other individuals who are traveling on the road.
Defending Against an Improper U-Turn Case
Defending u-turn accidents frequently involves arguing that law enforcement has not sufficiently established that individual committed an improper -turn and thus the driver was not in the violation of law. Other successful defenses involve arguing that opposing counsel has failed to present adequate witness testimony or surveillance evidence to demonstrate that the accident in question occurred. Some additional potential defenses that individuals can argue include arguing that: the driver’s motor vehicle was improperly stopped, the driver was not operating the vehicle that made the illegal u-turn in question, the motor vehicle operator was unaware that u-turns were not permitted in that designated area, or that the individual made a u-turn for emergency purposes like motor vehicle problems. If a motor vehicle operator made a u-turn in an effort to avoid colliding with another vehicle, a judge is likely to take this aspect into consideration when sentencing the individual.
There are some defenses that will not be accepted in response to improper u-turn charges including that: the motor vehicle driven was mistaken about whether u-turns were permitted in a particular area, arguing that no one was injured in the accident, or relying on telling a sympathetic story.
The best way to avoid an illegal u-turn conviction is to avoid receiving a citation in the first place. Individuals should avoid making a u-turn in certain areas including: at an intersection with a traffic signal, in the middle of the block in urban or residential areas, where a sign is posted that strictly prohibits u-turns, where visibility is even partially limited, or anywhere that law enforcement is within sight.
The Consequences of Being Charged with an Illegal U-Turn
There are several significant penalties that can arise from being charged with making an illegal u-turn. Individuals will have three points placed on the driver’s record. The accumulation of more than fifteen points on an individual’s driver’s license within a twenty-four month period will result in that individual’s license being suspended. Being charged with an illegal u-turn can also result in an individual’s insurance rates increasingly significantly. Individuals might also be charged several hundreds of dollars in order to obtain one’s driver’s license. These are just penalties that can arise from an improper u-turn charge. Individuals can also expect to be held responsible for civil liability if their actions resulted in motor vehicle accidents.
Contact a Skilled Accident Attorney
In many cases, opposing legal counsel has a difficult time establishing that an individual is responsible for any damage, injuries, or fatalities that resulted from an improper driving accident. Skilled legal counsel like the team at Yeargan, Barber & Kert can help prepare a strong case so that clients can receive adequate compensation for damages. Our law firm is dedicated to vigorously defending our client in motor vehicle accident cases including situations involving improper u-turns. Contact our legal counsel today to create a strong legal strategy so that you can make sure that your case resolves in the best possible manner.