How to Determine Fault and the Right of Way in U-Turn Accidents in Florida?
A U-turn is one of the most dangerous maneuvers a driver can execute while operating a vehicle. Unfortunately, it is not always clear who was at fault in a car crash involving a motorist who was making a U-turn. However, it is vital to determine whether the maneuver was safe to perform and who had the right of way at the time of the auto accident.
The dangers of illegal U-turns were evident in a recent car accident in Lakeland. As reported by Patch, a woman of Tampa was arrested after causing a crash when trying to make a U-turn in the middle of Rockridge Road. As a result, a motorcycle crashed into the back door of the woman’s vehicle.
When Are U-Turns Legal and Safe to Execute in Florida?
The Florida Statutes Section 316.1515 allows drivers to execute a U-turn if the three requirements are met:
- The driver is able to execute the U-tun in a safe manner;
- The maneuver would not interfere with the flow of traffic; and
- There are no posted traffic signs prohibiting U-turns in the area.
If the driver involved in your car accident violated the traffic law when making a U-turn, he or she would be fully at fault for causing the crash unless your own negligence contributed to the collision.
Who Has the Right of Way When Executing a U-Turn at the Intersection?
Under Florida’s traffic law, a driver who has a green light or green turn signals has the right of way over drivers who have a red light. For example, if you have a green arrow and are making a U-turn, a driver on the cross street must wait until you complete the maneuver before turning right on red.
However, an intersection may have signal timing errors, which makes it difficult to determine who had the right of way. For example, both a driver executing a U-turn and a driver on the cross street may have a green arrow at the same time. In that case, determining liability can be tricky.
If a driver is attempting to make a U-turn on a red light, they are violating a traffic law and can be held responsible for the resulting car crash. If you are planning to execute a U-turn but have a red light, you must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. Also, it is prohibited to cut across traffic, which is why drivers must stay in the closest lane when making a U-turn.
Fault in U-Turn Accidents in Florida
Many U-turn accidents occur because drivers fail to pay attention to the road and anticipate that another driver is making a U-turn. Generally, it is advised to read the road signs and check traffic signals to determine who has the right of way.
If two drivers are deemed at fault in a U-turn crash in Florida, they may still be able to recover damages. Florida follows the doctrine of comparative negligence, which reduces your compensation in proportion to your own degree of fault in the accident.
Consult with our experienced Lakeland car accident attorney to establish fault and determine who had the right of way in your U-turn crash. Contact The Turnbull Firm to schedule a consultation. Call at 863-324-3500.