Perhaps one of the most common reasons our clients are pulled over in Columbus, Ohio is for illegal U-turns. Few people realize that they aren’t just discouraged within the city—they are actually illegal unless otherwise specifically posted. Under municipal ordinance 2131.12, the city of Columbus has banned all U-turns except where signs say they are specifically permitted.
It’s not just Columbus either. Other Franklin County cities, including Grandview Heights, Reynoldsburg, Upper Arlington and Worthington, have banned the practice. These prohibitions on U-turns have been put in place over the past few years as a reaction to serious accidents caused by motorists’ unsafe U-turns.
While you may think it’s no big deal to get a ticket for an illegal U-turn, this traffic offense is a misdemeanor that in combination with other traffic infractions can actually be punished by jail time. Although this may not be common, you still can end up paying thousands in fines and increased insurance costs. If you don’t fight the charges, you may face much worse consequences than you would expect, especially if your actions had otherwise followed standard Ohio U-turn safety laws.
U-Turn Restrictions Elsewhere in Ohio
Here in Columbus, we’ve had to adapt from the convenience of U-turns to find new ways to turn around. Luckily, many cities in Ohio do still permit U-turns. So long as you yield as appropriate to other traffic and signal well in advance, Ohio State law generally permits U-turns.
There are two exceptions:
- You cannot make a U-turn near a hill or grade.
- You cannot make a U-turn where visibility is less than 500 feet.
Still, if you follow these rules and proceed with caution, you should be able to make a U-turn as needed. Unfortunately, many cities have banned U-turns outright, which means if you happen to be in one of these municipalities, you can be ticketed, even if there is no sign informing you of the local law. If you are unsure of whether or not U-turns are permitted where you are driving in Ohio, it may be better to find another way to turn around.
It can seem impossible to keep all of these local laws straight, which is why so many people get hit with unexpected traffic tickets. We think this is unfair. If you find yourself ticketed for an illegal U-turn or any other traffic offense, call the Columbus traffic attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates at (614) 500-3836 today for a free consultation on your case. Find out how we may be able to help.