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Improper and illegal turns often lead to collisions that damage property and injure drivers and passengers. For these reasons, the Pennsylvania vehicle law controls when and how you turn. Violations of laws related to turning and stopping at traffic lights mean citations that can result in points on your license and perhaps even the loss of the privileges. You also face higher premiums on your auto insurance.
U-turns can prove dangerous because of the sudden change of direction, lack of room and presence of oncoming traffic. Title 75, Chapter 33, of the Pennsylvania statutes, otherwise known as the “Rules of the Road,” prohibit “U-turns,” or turning to travel in the opposite direction:
*Where a “No U-Turn” sign has been erected
*When doing so interferes with traffic
*When a U-turn cannot be safely executed, such as when you are on a road where approaching traffic cannot see you
*On the Pennsylvania Turnpike, except when allowed during an emergency by the Pennsylvania State Police or a Turnpike fare collection employee
You’ll receive three points against your license for an illegal or improper U-turn.
The basic right turn rule calls for you to stay as close to the curb or right-of-way edge as possible. You may be cited for a violation if you swing out into the opposite lane or otherwise another lane of travel to turn right.
Pennsylvania law allows you to turn right on red provided that you have first stopped at the light and observe that it is safe to turn. You may not turn if a pedestrian is in the intersection with the light or you see a vehicle with a green or yellow light approaching you. Of course, you must heed any “NO TURN ON RED” sign. Running a red light results in three points on your license.
As a general rule, operators of left-turning vehicles must yield to traffic approaching from the opposite direction. You may turn left if you have sufficient time and room to do so before the oncoming vehicle arrives. If you’re at an intersection, you must yield to traffic in the opposite direction.
When you’re at a stoplight-controlled intersection, a green arrow affords you the right-of-way to turn left. This is because the opposite traffic has a red light. If you see a full green light, you must yield to any oncoming traffic before turning left.
A failure to yield results in three license points.
Contrary to tradition and popular convention, some left turns on red lights are permitted. This limited permission applies if you turn left from a “one-way” street to another one-way street or road.
In your left turn, stay to the immediate left of the center of the intersection and do not enter the lane with opposite-approaching vehicles.
A turn signal notifies other motorists of your intended turns and other movements. When you must activate the turn signal depends on your speed. If you’re driving no more than 35 mph, you must give the signal at least 100 feet before the turn. The required distance goes to 300 feet your speed goes above 35 mph. You also are required to activate your turn signal when changing lanes.
If your turn signals do not work, you resort to your arms to indicate your turns. Extend your arm and hand to the left for a left turn and to the right for a right turn.
Citations for failing to give a proper turn signal do not impose points on your license.
A ticket from an illegal or improper turn can increase your insurance costs and may lead to a loss of your license. Take the ticket seriously. Contact us for assistance in handling your ticket. We’ll examine the circumstances and evidence to determine your defense or any reduction of the charges.