Skip to content

Are U-Turns Legal in PA? A Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney Weighs In

Request Free Consultation.
Tell Us Your Situation.


  • Exceptionally Smart Representation: Edith Pearce, MENSA member
  • Proven Results: Lifetime member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • No Fee unless we recover for you. Free Consultations
  • Peer Recognized Excellence: Super Lawyers; Philadelphia’s Best Lawyers; Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum; and AV Preeminent Rated® by Martindale-Hubbell-less than 5% of lawyers in U.S. receive this rating
  • National Reputation: Featured in Newsweek, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Magazine, FOX, Comcast, ABC
  • Inside knowledge to obtain top settlements: Decades of prior experience working for insurance companies means we know how to fight them for you!
  • Personal Attention with Aggressive Representation: Unlike many large law firms, the founding lawyer of our firm, Edith Pearce is involved in every case
  • Better Business Bureau A+ Rating –VIEW OUR BBB RATING

Being hit or injured by someone making an unsafe or illegal u-turn can cause stress, damage, and long-term pain due to injuries caused by the accident. Determining who is at fault in an accident in Philadelphia can be complicated, and u-turn accidents are no different, even though a majority of the time, the person performing the u-turn is found to be at fault.

About U-turns

A u-turn in PA is illegal if it’s made in an area specifically restricted by displaying a “no u-turn” sign or message. U-turns in Pennsylvania are also illegal if the driver endangers themselves or other drivers due to the proximity to others, their vehicles, location, or speed.

In July of 2021, a man tried to make a u-turn at South 8th Street and West Oregon Avenue in Philadelphia and hit a boy riding his bike causing major injuries. U-turns are one of the most dangerous maneuvers a driver can make, execution should be safe and well planned by the driver – when it’s not, accidents can happen.  That’s when the top-rated attorneys at The Pearce Law Firm can help.

The 500 Foot Rule

Are U-Turns Legal In PA - u-turn sign pearce law firm logoDriving instructors and the Pennsylvania DMV documentation reinforce the 500-foot rule, which states that when you choose a place to make a u-turn, the driver must first make sure drivers, pedestrians, and obstructions from all directions are at least 500 feet away, and they must be able to see the vehicle clearly while executing the u-turn so they can slow down.  Subsequently, u-turns are not allowed on curves, around corners, or approaching or over the top of a crest of a hill.  U-turns are completely illegal in locations marked with the “no u-turn” signage like you see to the right.

Types of U-turn Accidents

Many types of car accidents in Philadelphia can occur when an unsafe or illegal u-turn is attempted. U-turns can also cause chain reaction accidents wherein a car involved in a u-turn may cause another vehicle to swerve, impeding a 3rd vehicle’s clear path.

  • Pedestrian accidents – It’s incredibly hard to have your head on a 360-degree swivel. When making a u-turn in the city, pedestrians can come from all directions, in between parked cars, buildings, or exiting a car the driver didn’t realize had someone inside it. 
  • Hitting Parked Cars – sometimes the driver performing a U-turn can hit parked vehicles because they misjudge the distance needed to get around corners.
  • Head-on Collisions – There are times when an unsafe u-turn could result in a head-on collision. This is one of the most dangerous types of crashes because they can involve higher speeds in the oncoming vehicle if they cannot see the car attempting the u-turn.
  • Bicyclists and Motorcycle Crashes – U-turns can be especially risky to bicyclists and motorcycle riders. They’re smaller, harder to see in the surroundings than a car or truck, and the injuries can be much more severe due to the exposed nature of the rider. Cases of bicycle or motorcycle accidents involving a u-turn definitely should be reviewed by a top-rated lawyer.

Who is at Fault an Accident?

In nearly every u-turn accident, the person performing the u-turn is at fault. In Pennsylvania, fault is a confusing concept that needs examination. Pennsylvania has no-fault insurance for auto accidents, but only for medical bills. This means that each driver’s insurance company pays for their own medical bills. However, no-fault insurance does not apply to other damages like pain and suffering or wage loss. Because Pennsylvania is a no-fault state for medical bills, which can be confusing, making sure bills are paid, care is received and property is restored or replaced can be a complicated procedure. 

Contact an Experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney

If you were struck by someone making an unsafe or illegal u-turn, give us a call to discuss your case. Our experts are well-versed in the nuance of Pennsylvania fault determination and the rules surrounding these types of accidents. Give us a call for your free consultation today.

What Our Car Accident Clients Have to Say on Google:

Nicole V. is a girl’s go-to when looking to retain an attorney! Ladies, please believe me! I had a car accident case that I didn’t handle properly in the beginning and Nicole still chose to take me on as a client! She is professional, caring, thorough, firm, stern, kind and most importantly–compassionate! She gets it! She understands that while being in the midst of your case that everyday life still has to be tended to and does her best to make concessions for you. Her defense of you never changes from beginning to end. If you retain her, you will not be disappointed– I wasn’t!

Tysha D.
July 2020

Back To Top
Call Now Button