The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Opinion

October 9, 2012

U-turns legal with few exceptions

I almost had a serious wreck on a busy part of Wesley Street in Greenville last week when a car pulled out in front of me while doing a u-turn.  The car had been sitting in the turn-lane waiting for a clear area to turn, and didn’t see me turn onto the street. Isn’t it illegal to do a u-turn on five-lane streets? — David, Greenville

No — there is no Texas law making u-turns generally illegal on large streets. The only law that covers u-turns in general is in the Traffic Code, and it is not based on the size of the road but the visibility to the driver. Basically, it says a driver may make u-turns legally as long as they can see at least 500 feet in the direction of oncoming traffic.

Having said that, there are numerous local ordinances that make u-turns illegal on various city streets. In areas where u-turns are prohibited, the law may only be enforced if the municipality erects a “no u-turn” sign — similar to those erected at many intersections.

If no sign exists, and if oncoming traffic is visible for 500 feet, a driver may make a legal u-turn under the same rules as a normal left turn — i.e., you may not turn left at a red light and you must yield to oncoming traffic.

The other day I was driving with my mother who always makes it a point to stop on the entrance ramp before entering interstate highway. She did this on I-30 and almost got us killed by a semi-truck that had to drive on the dirt shoulder to avoid rear-ending us. She said she didn’t care about almost getting hit because he should have stopped as well. Will you please answer this for us: Is it illegal to stop on an interstate entrance ramp?

No, but it is a bad idea and very likely to get the driver or another motorist killed. Also, it is “illegal” to drive recklessly, and an officer seeing a vehicle stop on an entrance ramp is likely to write a ticket for reckless driving.

There is no law in Texas that requires a motorist to stop on an interstate entrance ramp. Nor has that ever been the law. The only law governing the use of entrance ramps is that the vehicle entering traffic must yield to vehicles already on the road.  The only reason a driver should ever stop on an entrance ramp is if the highway traffic is also stopped.

The state and federal governments spend millions of dollars every year on land and materials for long entrance ramps so that vehicles entering traffic have the time and space needed to reach high speeds before they merge into traffic. Stopping on an entrance ramp is not only dangerous because it means the vehicle will not have time to reach speed before merging, but it is also dangerous because other drivers on the ramp are paying attention to what is behind them.

These same ideas and reckless driving rules also apply to merging onto a highway from a stop on the shoulder. If you are stopped on a shoulder to change a tire or for some other emergency, you should not pull directly into traffic from a stop.  Instead, you should use your turn signal and carefully build up speed on the shoulder before merging.

Text Only
Opinion
  • This is ... summer?

    Just sitting here, wondering what season this is again ...
    — Seriously, this is summer? In Texas?

    July 20, 2014

  • Why no to YMCA?

    Sometimes the lack of news can be just as disturbing as the daily barrage of bad news.

    July 5, 2014

  • Service members deserve our thanks

    More than two million active and reserve military personnel serve in the United States Military across the world: from just down the road in Fort Worth to the Forward Operating Base Jackson in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, U.S. men and women endure harsh conditions, potentially fatal missions, rigorous training and heart-aching separation.

    July 5, 2014

  • Texas should not have to face surge alone

    Texas political leaders recently announced an increase in funding and personnel to secure the Texas-Mexico border.

    June 27, 2014

  • Closer to Cliff than Homer on any Father’s Day

    It is Father’s Day, the one day a year when sons and daughters (hopefully) remember to thank Dear Old Dad for all he has meant to them over the years.

    June 15, 2014

  • Lives depend on how we drive

    Local roads and highways have been the scene of six motor vehicle accident fatalities over the past week.

    June 11, 2014

  • Summer’s here, ready or not

    Too late, summer’s here ...
    — The occupants of the Kellar Estate once again find themselves preparing for the annual onslaught of heat and humidity which is summer in Texas.

    June 8, 2014

  • YMCA 'ball' now in city's court

    The YMCA/event center project is now back on track, thanks to a $1 million pledge from L-3 Mission Integration. It has been more than a year since Greenville voters approved a $15 million bond to build to new Y.

    June 1, 2014

  • In just a flash, she's turned 15

    Shaking my head in disbelief once again ...
    Jaylynn is 15.
    Let that sink in for a minute.

    May 25, 2014

  • No one should let ‘no’ stand in way of accomplishing their goals

    “No” – a word that is so simple, yet so powerful when used in answering a question. This two-lettered word can create a world of hurt for someone who has big ambitions and is denied the opportunity to see their goals flourish.

    May 20, 2014

Featured Ads
Promotions
Poll

Does Dallas head coach Jason Garrett need for the Cowboys to make the playoffs during the 2014 football season to keep his job?

Yes
No
Who knows with Jerry Jones as owner?
     View Results
Facebook
Must Read
Photos


See more photos and purchase prints here.

AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide