Determining Liability for a Car Accident Involving U-Turns

u-turn sign U-turns are essentially sharp left turns and one of the most dangerous maneuvers a driver can execute. Drivers are required to yield to oncoming traffic before crossing into the opposite lane. In the event of an accident, fault often lies with the driver making the U-turn, although that is not always the case.

Proving who was at fault can sometimes be difficult. It will depend on many factors, such as whether the U-turn was illegal and whether it was done safely. Greg Monforton & Partners’ auto accident lawyers in Windsor are ready to review your situation and determine your legal options in a free consultation. Victims of U-turn accidents may be eligible to pursue compensation for their damages.

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What Makes U-Turns So Dangerous?

U-turns can be especially risky because the driver making a U-turn must cross lanes of traffic to complete the maneuver. U-turning drivers can get hit not just by oncoming traffic, but also by drivers turning right. Drivers making a U-turn and those making a right turn often proceed without paying attention to one another.  Doing so puts both drivers at risk of an accident.

Getting hit from behind or on the side at a high rate of speed can result in head, back and neck injuries that could be life-changing and require extensive medical treatment.

U-Turn Accidents That Often Happen

U-turn accidents often happen at intersections. It is important to use caution and drive defensively when making a U-turn or when approaching another driver attempting to make a U-turn ahead of you.

Examples of U-turn accidents include:

  • The driver makes a U-turn into a narrow lane, blocking traffic, and gets rear-ended by an oncoming vehicle.
  • The U-turning driver gets hit on the side after making the turn slowly and failing to match the speed of oncoming traffic.
  • The U-turning driver causes a chain reaction, leading to multiple accidents with oncoming traffic.
  • The driver fails to make a sharp enough U-turn and sideswipes a car in the adjacent lane.
  • The U-turning driver fails to yield to oncoming traffic and gets into a head-on crash.

When Are U-Turns Legal in Ontario?

The U-turn rules in Ontario are fairly straightforward. You are allowed to make a U-turn as long as there is no sign indicating not to. To make a safe U-turn at an intersection or in between an intersection, be sure to signal, move forward and turn quickly and sharply once traffic is clear in both directions.

U-turn is considered illegal in the following places:

  • On a curve on the road
  • On the crest of a hilltop
  • On or near a railroad crossing
  • Near a bridge or tunnel that blocks your view

A U-turn should not be made unless you are able to see a minimum of 150 metres in either direction.

Drivers who interfere with any approaching traffic can be charged with certain offenses. This is in accordance with Section 143 of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA). Anyone who makes an illegal U-turn may face a $110 fine and two demerit points added to their driving record.

Liability in a U-Turn Accident

All drivers have a legal obligation to proceed with caution, be aware of their surroundings and use proper judgment when deciding whether it is safe to make a U-turn.

When an accident does happen, determining liability can be difficult. Although the driver making the U-turn is often to blame, in some cases, the other driver may be at fault if he or she was speeding, ran a red light or was driving while distracted or impaired. Both drivers may even share partial responsibility for the accident and any resulting damages.

An experienced lawyer can help establish liability in these types of accidents by reviewing Ontario’s traffic regulations to assess whether the driver made an illegal U-turn. The location of impact and the damage sustained to the vehicles involved could also help show how the accident happened.

For instance, if you were driving through an intersection and another driver made a sudden U-turn in front of you, you may have tried to slow down or change lanes to avoid getting hit. If you were hit, you likely sustained damage to the front end or left side of your vehicle.

Your lawyer may retain the services of an accident reconstructionist to help piece together how the accident occurred, whether negligence played a role and who may be liable.

Get Answers to Your Legal Questions

Car accidents can lead to devastating consequences. Victims may be left with serious injuries and costly medical bills in addition to not being able to work for some time while in recovery.

Our lawyers understand the financial hardships an accident can cause – we have helped many victims recover maximum compensation for their damages. Our firm has been fighting for the rights of injured victims in Ontario for many decades. Learn more about what our clients have to say about us.

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