What used to be referred to as “horseshoe turns” in the old days are now more commonly known as a “U-turn.” They are called this because it is the exact shape in which a driver directs his vehicle. Now that we have a quick history lesson and now know what a U-turn is, we can direct our attention to figuring out if those types of turns are actually legal in Nevada.
The answer to the question of whether or not U-turns are legal is ‘yes’ unless it is specifically denoted that they are not. So if you need to make that U-turn, you can unless you see a sign that states that they are not allowed.
Some drivers are hesitant to make that horseshoe turn when they do not see a sign that allows them to do so. As stated though, no need to worry about it, go ahead and make the U-turn.
Ensure that you educate your spouse and all backseat drivers as well.
Nevada Revised Statute NRS 484B.403 pertains to U-turns in the state. A quick excerpt from the statute simply reads that “A U-turn may be made on any road where the turn can be made with safety, except as prohibited by this section…”
One common issue when making a U-turn that goes against the safety aspect is when a driver has a large automobile and the size of the car is unable to make the turn. When this happens the driver usually has to back up and reverse into oncoming traffic to navigate the turn. In this instance, it is not safe and is a hindrance to traffic flow. So in this scenario, even though the U-turn could legally be made, this driver could be cited by law enforcement because the turn was not safe due to the size of their car.
Conspicuous signs stating “No U-Turn” can be found in Las Vegas on the very busy Paradise Road (heading southbound) between the arterial streets of Desert Inn Road and Sands Avenue. It can be frustrating when one needs to head in the other direction and make a U-turn when they see the prohibition sign.
It is easier to simply drive through the intersection and make a U-turn at the next possible opportunity (you would also be following the law that way). Or instead of making the U-turn just make a left-hand turn and then a right-hand turn to get back to the direction you need to head. If you get a ticket for an illegal U-turn we recommend you contact us at Ticket Busters as we can definitely help. We will save you time and money as we work to negotiate the ticket with the court system.
Penalties for Making an Illegal U-Turn
If you do not have the patience to drive through the intersection and make a horseshoe turn at the next available opportunity then be prepared to pay. By defying that “No U Turn” sign and end up getting a ticket from the police, you will likely end up with a fine of $230.
Not only will you have to pay the fine but demerit points will be assessed against your driving record. The normal amount of points for making an improper U-turn is three. If this event occurs let us know at Ticket Busters and we can work to get those charges reduced and often have success in getting the violation changed to a nonmoving violation that does not carry any demerit points. That is the value we provide to our customers.
What Constitutes an Improper U-Turn
As we have previously stated, U-turns are legal here in the state of Nevada. Per NRS 484B.403, there are a few exceptions to this rule:
- If a “No U Turn” is specifically posted, then you are violating the law if you make the turn.
- Making a U turn on a hill can also be a violation under certain conditions. If you are driving your car and make a U turn while on a hill but have visibility of oncoming traffic of 500 feet or less you can be ticketed. If you do this in Clark County Nevada they allow 1,000 feet of visibility.
- The last potential violation is making a U turn in a business district or a school zone in certain circumstances. A turn can be acceptable in a business district if there is a divided highway or intersection where there is ample crossing space to make a safe turn. School zones or crossing zones can also be ok to make a turn when these certain circumstances are present:
- When there are no children present. If you are in a school zone and you see kids on or near the intersection or even in the vicinity you could be violating the law.
- On a day when there is no school. This could include a weekend, holiday or special in-service day where the school is simply closed.
- Certain hours of a day when there is school. Acceptable times to make U turn during a school day would be thirty minutes before the school is in operation and 30 minutes after the school has closed. In other words, do not make a U turn when school is in session or when there are kids present.
An easy way to follow this rule and ensure you are in compliance is by utilizing the school zone beacon if there is one. That beacon flashed a yellow light when a school is operating and students are traveling to and from the campus. A basic rule for U-turns is if the beacon is flashing then U-turns are not allowed. If the light is not on then you are probably ok to make the turn (assuming other criteria are met).
Punishments for Making an Illegal U Turn in Nevada
As we discussed prior, the fine for violating the U-turn law (NRS 484B.403) is usually $230 and three demerit points against your license. Although it is a minor offense and can often be taken care of without a lot of drama by simply paying the fine sometimes things can escalate.
If you forget to pay your fine or if you had to appear in court and forgot either one or simply just didn’t do it then more trouble lies ahead. If this occurs a bench warrant could be issued by the judge for your arrest. Ticket Busters can assist in any of these situations and we can be easily reached via telephone, email or by simply stopping by our office.
What is my Defense If I get a Ticket for an Illegal U Turn?
If you get a ticket for an illegal U-turn you really should call Ticket Busters for help in the matter. We offer great service and have vast experience in these matters. Our professional law staff will help in all facets of the case. Typically, a U-turn violation can be resolved easily without a lot of litigation. Sometimes a court prosecutor can be difficult though and in those instances, a defense attorney will strategize a case based on the merits.
A common defense against an improper U turn violation in Nevada may include the following:
- A defense lawyer will find out if there were any eye witnesses that can attest that the U turn was legal. For instance, if the driver was cited near a school because children were near the intersection but an eye witness states otherwise then that will put a crack in the prosecution’s case.
- Many intersections have surveillance cameras posted on the street lights. In this instance, those pictures can be obtained by a law firm to make a positive case on behalf of the driver who was cited.
- The driver should also take photos of the intersection, street lights and surrounding area. Showing that there were not any “No U Turn” signs posted will help the defendant.
- GPS coordinates can also be helpful. Records from your phone can be used for this. Many cars also have a navigation system that would also have this information. By showing this info to the court system, it could prove that the driver was not in an area that prohibits U turns. Remember that these types of turns are legal in Nevada except for some very specific examples.
There is no reason to fight these charges yourself when we at Ticket Busters can help. This is what we specialize in so make your life easy and give us a call. Going to court and fighting the justice system is time consuming and can be costly so let our expert staff take care of those issues for you. We’ve helped more than 50,000 customers here in Nevada and want to help you too!