BC Highway U-Turns Don’t Necessarily Mean YOU

 

The lure of making an illegal U-turn on a BC Highway can be tempting. You might think it’ll save you a bit of time. Or it’s just convenient. Or it’s a quick fix when going the wrong way.

Just don’t.

It’s unwise, unsafe and illegal. You might see what looks like a pull through in the middle of the road and think it’s your perfect window of opportunity to back track. STOP! It’s not for you!
(Except if you’re an authorized emergency or maintenance vehicle)

Traffic travelling in the opposite direction is moving at freeway speed and they aren’t expecting a slow moving vehicle to just pop in front of them, coming from the other way. This causes accidents, sometimes fatal ones.

Actually, there are very few situations where U-turns are legal for the travelling public.

Here’s what ICBC has to say about u-turns in their Understanding Intersections document:

If you find you are going in the wrong direction, you may be tempted to make a U‑turn. U‑turns are often risky. They are illegal:

  • If they interfere with other traffic
  • On a curve
  • On or near the crest of a hill, where you cannot be seen by other traffic within 150 metres
  • Where a sign prohibits U‑turns
  • At an intersection where there is a traffic light
  • In a business district, except at an intersection where there is no traffic light
  • Where a municipal bylaw prohibits making a U‑turn.

This information is also straight from our BC Motor Vehicle Act, section 168 on Reverse Turns.

We ask that you please be patient. Look for that next exit to more safely (and legally) turn around on a side road. Look for those alternatives to a U-Turn that isn’t really intended or designed for you.

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9 Responses to BC Highway U-Turns Don’t Necessarily Mean YOU

  1. Ken Read on December 7, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    On the job, within the limits of construction, in a properly marked vehicle and on a two lane road with adequate visibility, I have made thousands of uturns in my 40 year career. Now you say they are illegal… but a section of the motor vehicle act lets construction workers break the normal rules. This should be noted whenever someone prohibits uturns (normally wise advise). I am in FSPaving we would never get our jobs done otherwise. That is why I keep requesting a vehicle that can do a uturn within two lanes. Never had an accident, follow the rules.

    • tranbceditor on December 8, 2017 at 11:42 am

      Hi Ken,
      It is illegal for passenger vehicles to do this, however, if there is a sign stating “except maintenance and authorized vehicles”, those vehicles are permitted.

  2. Ian Simpson on December 6, 2017 at 10:29 am

    ???What does this mean???
    -no traffic light

    • tranbceditor on December 6, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      Sorry for the confusion, Ian! The bullet was formatted incorrectly so it didn’t make sense. It now reads: “In a business district, except at an intersection where there is no traffic light.”

      • Shannon on December 7, 2017 at 12:45 pm

        I think Ian’s confusion is coming from the fact that there are a couple of (I think) unintentional line breaks in the bulleted list. I think this:

        “- in a business district, except at an intersection where there is
        – no traffic light”

        is meant to be this:

        “- in a business district, except at an intersection where there is no traffic light”

        • tranbceditor on December 8, 2017 at 9:46 am

          Fixed! Thanks for noting this Shannon.

  3. Bart on December 6, 2017 at 10:13 am

    I don’t do U turns, but I cannot really understand why it would be illegal at a traffic light that has multiple lanes and an advanced left. There is literally no oncoming traffic if done during the advance light. (I’d still never do it myself though).

    • tranbceditor on December 6, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      It’s tempting for sure, but for safety sake, we can’t make exceptions to the rule. Even though some folks might do it safely, there are others who risk everything. Better to take the next available exit and be safe.

    • Ken on December 8, 2017 at 6:34 am

      There’s actually good reason U-Turns aren’t allowed at controlled intersections. You know how unlike say in Montreal we can do right turns on red lights here? Well if someone is making a U-Turn at an intersection and someone is also making a completely legal right on a red…you can see what “could” happen in that situation. Just an observation is all.

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