Traffic Tip column: Laws governing U-turns

By Sgt. Julian Huerta

This week's ordinance/ law is found in the City of Victoria Municipal Code, section

Sec. 22-16. - Limitations on U-turns and turning around.

(a)

No driver of a vehicle shall turn such vehicle so as to proceed in the opposite direction upon any street in a business district.

(b)

No driver of a vehicle shall turn such vehicle so as to proceed in the opposite direction upon any other street unless such movement can be made in safety and without interfering with any other traffic.

(Code 1960, ยง 25-30; Ord. No. 84-5, ยง 4, 4-2-84)

Basically since we do not have business districts in Victoria with the exception noted above in section B of the city code unless otherwise posted with a no U-turn traffic control sign (example; section of Glascow Street by Academy) a U-turn is permissible in the city limits of Victoria. However, if you make a U-turn and that U-turn causes an interruption of traffic, (to brake, veer left or right, etc.) you are guilty of the unsafe U-turn, which is a city ordinance violation and you can be cited for that violation.

Safety is the primary focus of this particular ordinance being addressed; often times people have misconceptions about U-turns within the city limits.

It is, however, recommended that you do not make U-turns at intersection or otherwise for safety reasons as it may not be you who causes the crash, but a crash is still a crash that could have been prevented.

As defined by the city code and the traffic code regarding compliance with traffic control devices 544.004 (the posted no U-turn signs - current fine amount $184) as you can see, the officer would be within his authority to affect a stop and take whatever enforcement action that particular officer deems appropriate.

Again, traffic enforcement is about correcting driving errors through issuing of warnings and citations as a means of education to help assure a safe driving environment for everyone.

If you have a traffic law question, contact Sgt. Julian Huerta, Victoria Police Department Traffic Safety Unit, 361-485-3700.