Is the Driver Making a U-Turn Always to Blame for an Accident in Florida?

Florida is notorious for its tourism, with millions of out-of-state people visiting each year. This means there are large numbers of drivers out on the roads who may not be familiar with our state’s laws. Even Florida natives might benefit from a deeper understanding of how to stay safe on the roads. 

Making U-turns on Florida roadways is mostly legal. This naturally raises the question of who’s at fault in a Florida U-turn accident. As you might suspect, it’s usually the driver performing the U-turn. However, you should know about some exceptions that might help you avoid liability if you find yourself involved in a U-turn accident in Florida.

What Does Florida Law Say About U-Turns?

Florida state law is pretty sparse when it comes to regulating U-turns. 

The law simply states that U-turns are legal as long as they don’t interfere with traffic. This just means that as long as you’re not driving recklessly, a U-turn isn’t illegal and doesn’t automatically make you liable for an accident. 

The one obvious exception to this is if you illegally perform a U-turn in an area that has a posted sign specifically forbidding this maneuver. These signs are more common at high-volume intersections, where there is a higher chance of a U-turn contributing to an accident. 

Fault in a Florida U-Turn Accident

While U-turns in Florida are typically legal, that doesn’t necessarily make them safe. On more than one occasion, a legal U-turn has resulted in death on Florida roadways. Both car and motorcycle drivers have lost their lives in 2022 alone due to U-turn-related accidents.

So who’s at fault in a U-turn accident? The answer is that it depends.

Typically, fault would automatically fall upon the driver performing the U-turn. Oftentimes, drivers attempting a U-turn do so in the face of oncoming traffic. There are two common ways for this to end in an accident in which the driver making the U-turn is to blame. 

The first involves the driver misjudging their ability to complete the turn quickly enough. This miscalculation is a clear violation of Florida’s U-turn laws, which state that such a turn cannot interfere with oncoming traffic. 

A second common reason is when a driver misjudges the amount of space. Drivers who attempt U-turns may end up needing to complete a three-point turn — reversing the vehicle as traffic comes up from behind. This situation greatly increases the chances of a U-turn resulting in an accident, putting the driver performing the U-turn at fault. 

When Is the Turning Driver Not at Fault?

Not every U-turn accident in Florida is the fault of the turning driver. 

Common situations in which the driver completing the U-turn might not be blamed for a car accident include: 

  • The other driver was speeding
  • The other driver was driving recklessly
  • The other driver was under the influence
  • Both drivers had the right of way
  • Timing issues with traffic lights

Part of the reason fault is complicated in a Florida U-turn accident has to do with Florida’s driving laws. 

Florida law makes it legal to complete a U-turn at a green light. However, at some Florida intersections, a driver at the cross street may have a green arrow. This can lead to situations in which both drivers appear to have the right-of-way.  

The bottom line is that Florida U-turn accidents are more complicated than most. It’s best for tourists, transplants, and natives alike to know how to make a U-turn correctly before taking to Florida’s roadways. 

If there’s ever a question of fault after a U-turn accident, the smartest choice is to consult with an attorney who has experience navigating Florida’s unique driving laws. 

Contact the Pinellas County Car Accident Law Firm Of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help

For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg car accident law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve in Pinellas County, and its surrounding areas:

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,
United States
727-796-8282

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,
United States
727-344-4242