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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Understanding the Legal Landscape: Are U-turns Illegal in Indiana?

U-turns might be an easy way to change directions, but is it the right thing to do? A U-turn is a maneuver frequently used by drivers to change their direction. It's so simple to make a U-turn. However, when done incorrectly, it can lead to accidents.

After a U-turn, disputes frequently arise regarding the vehicle operator's negligence, especially when the other driver's insurance company becomes involved. It is vital to understand the regulations outlined in the Indiana Vehicle Code, particularly those of U-turns.

Being aware of traffic control devices, traffic signals, and street signs is crucial to avoid unfavorable interactions with both sober drivers and emergency vehicles.

This article will answer the question, "Are U-turns legal in Indiana?" and highlight the role of traffic laws in accidents.

Are U-turns Illegal in Indiana? Understanding the Regulations and Exceptions

Are U-turns Illegal in Indiana? Understanding the Regulations and Exceptions

Indiana law puts forth no general prohibition on U-turns. In fact, motorists often find them beneficial for course correction.

However, according to the Indiana Vehicle Code (IC 9-21-8-22), there are specific restrictions that prohibit a vehicle from executing a U-turn and facing the opposite direction under certain conditions.

Here are the circumstances where a U-turn in Indiana can be deemed illegal:

  • On a curve where visibility may be compromised,

  • As the vehicle approaches the crest of a grade,

  • Near the crest of a grade, where it might surprise oncoming traffic, and

  • When the turning vehicle cannot be seen from either direction within a distance of 750 feet.

These scenarios, aimed at preventing unusual danger, underscore that a legal U-turn is one that aligns with common sense and safety, mitigating the risk of accidents due to a driver's negligence.

Now, are U-turns legal? In most cases, making a U-turn is allowed unless it poses a safety risk or creates potential dangers for other drivers.

U-turn in Indiana: Safety and Stopping Distances

Road safety is of major concern to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Detailed studies are conducted to understand the dynamics of accidents, with one aspect being the speed-distance relationship and the impact on stopping distances.

An average sober driver, under optimal conditions, would require the following distances to stop their vehicle:

  • 20 mph – 63 feet,

  • 30 mph – 119 feet,

  • 40 mph – 164 feet,

  • 55 mph – 265 feet,

  • 65 mph – 344 feet, and

  • 70 mph – 387 feet.

These distances hinge on the driver's reaction time, including recognizing danger and hitting the brakes. Indiana's lawmakers have set a minimum visibility range of 750 feet for vehicles making a U-turn, recognizing the importance of this factor.

The rationale is that a driver needs this span to comprehend the situation and react appropriately. This is why U-turns are prohibited in areas with reduced visibility, such as on hills and curves, eliminating any risk posed by an illegal U-turn.

Furthermore, this law reinforces the broader objective: maintaining safety in urban areas and beyond for all motorists, whether they are making a left turn, a median U-turn, or navigating around stop signs.

Navigating Median U-turns: Safety, Regulations, and Roadway Awareness

A fascinating element of road maneuvering involves performing median U-turns. These U-turns occur when drivers use a gap in the median to exit the regular traffic flow and complete their turn.

This approach generally provides a safety buffer as the vehicle can momentarily exit the roadway, allowing other drivers to pass.

Interestingly, median U-turns are distinct from other varieties. Moreover, the Indiana Department of Transportation provides diagrams illustrating these road navigation nuances, helping drivers understand the different U-turns more easily.

Nonetheless, drivers must never forget that traffic control devices and street signs regulate the final directive on these U-turns.

Hence, regardless of personal judgment on safety or legality, if there is a sign explicitly prohibiting median U-turns at a specific location, drivers who attempt such maneuvers would be breaking the law.

It's always crucial to adhere to these instructions to ensure smooth traffic flow and prevent any accidental transgressions.

Dealing with U-turn Collisions and the Complexities of Fault in Indiana

According to Indiana laws, a situation can become challenging when a collision involves a car making an illegal U-turn. In such cases, it can be argued that the other driver's violation of traffic laws can be seen as evidence of negligence.

The Role of Traffic Laws in Negligence Claims

Traffic laws can prevent accidents and injuries, providing strong grounds to support the negligence claim.

However, it's important to note that a violation of the law doesn't automatically mean the at-fault party's insurance company will cover the damages. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can answer questions like, "Can you get PTSD from a motorcycle accident in Indiana?"

Shared Blame and the Need for Guidance in Accident Cases

Situations may arise where both parties share some degree of blame. If there was a reasonable chance to avoid the accident, but the driver didn't take it, then some fault may be attributed to that inactivity.

These situations highlight the complexity of such cases and emphasize the need for guidance. Disputes regarding fault can become contentious, necessitating a nuanced understanding of the laws and circumstances involved.

The Need for Legal Assistance in U-turn Accidents

The Need for Legal Assistance in U-turn Accidents

When accidents involving U-turns occur in Indiana, understanding the traffic signal, determining the legality of these maneuvers, and assessing negligence requires a deep knowledge of traffic law.

Given these complexities, it is crucial to seek the assistance of a legal expert. They can analyze whether the law prohibits U-turns at certain locations, reconstruct the accident scenario, and identify the other driver's negligence.

This legal expertise becomes especially important if the other driver disputes the claims. Additionally, factors such as the vehicle's positioning in the left lane during the U-turn can significantly impact the case outcome.

Professionals such as Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys are indispensable in such complicated situations and this car accident law firm will offer a free consultation to provide guidance.


Navigating the complex terrain of traffic laws, especially when it involves understanding the legality of U-turns in Indiana or interpreting left lane regulations, can be a daunting task for motorists. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also help with questions like, "Is brake checking illegal in Indiana?"

The situation becomes more intricate when an accident occurs during a vehicle making a U-turn. At such moments, expertise from an accident reconstruction expert can provide a thorough understanding of the incident.

However, gaining such insights is not a task left to motorists alone. With legal assistance, the course becomes smoother.

Hence, Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys stands ready to lend its expertise, guiding anyone facing such predicaments through the process and ensuring their rights are protected.

Don't hesitate to reach out for the team's professional assistance.


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