Ask the Motor Cop | I turn, U turn, who has right of way?


Question: When you are about to make a right turn and another car makes a U-turn in front of you, who has the right of way?    

Answer: I think that the best way I can answer this question is, if the U-turning vehicle has entered the intersection legally and is in his or her U-turn, they have the right of way and it is the right-turning driver’s responsibility to yield to that U-turning vehicle.   

So whether the right-turning driver is stopped at a red light, or a stop sign, it is their responsibility not to enter the intersection until that driver “yields the right of way to any vehicle that has approached or is approaching or close enough to constitute an immediate hazard and shall continue to yield the right of way to that vehicle until you can proceed with reasonable safety.”  

The same exact situation applies to a U-turning vehicle at an intersection on a green arrow. The right-turning driver must yield prior to turning.     

This would be a different story if a person has already yielded to all traffic and is in their right turn movement and then the U-turning vehicle enters the intersection. 

I hope that I was able to answer your question without too much confusion. Drive carefully. 

Jerry Schlund, a Santa Clarita Valley resident, is a retired Los Angeles Police Department motor officer with over 24 years riding. He was a certified radar instructor — both laser and doppler — and was instrumental in California vehicle code amendments. He was a traffic school instructor for 25 years. Have a question for the motor cop? Send your questions to [email protected].   

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