Written by Andrei Zakhareuski. With over 16 years of expertise, Andrei leads Driving-Tests.org, a top online resource for driver education. His leadership has established vital partnerships with over 2,600 libraries, educational bodies, and state agencies.

Regulations about U turns vary depending on where you are driving. Before you attempt to make a U turn, make sure that you know the rules concerning this particular type of turn. For instance, some areas allow U turns anywhere that there are no signs specifically prohibiting U turns.

Becoming a Changing Directions Guru: 6 Easy Steps to Make a Safe U Turn

No U-turns sign Don’t even think about a U turn if you see this sign

In other areas, U turns may be illegal at all times. Unless you are in an emergency situation, you do not want to put yourself in danger of getting a traffic citation for performing a U turn in a location where they are prohibited. A U turn is a relatively simply driving maneuver and can be safely performed by following these specific steps.

Make a U Turn in 6 Simple Steps

  1. While using proper lane changing techniques, merge into the left lane of the roadway on which you are driving. Below is the example of a simple and safe left lane change in traffic.

  2. Merge again into the turning lane to the far left of the side of the road on which you are driving. U turns are almost always performed at a location with a red light, therefore you should be able to use the turning lane as a place to wait for oncoming traffic to clear before beginning the U turn. Continue to keep your left turn signal on while you prepare to make this driving maneuver. This will help notify other drivers of your intentions.

  3. Check for oncoming traffic. Making a U turn will take several seconds. If you have any apprehensions about being able to complete the turn before an oncoming vehicle reaches you, wait until that vehicle has passed. Do not be in a rush when completing a U turn.

  4. Check for other vehicles turning into the lane or lanes you plan to enter from the other side of the roadway. Again, wait for all vehicles to clear before making a U turn.

  5. When you are certain that there are no vehicles approaching, turn your vehicle to the left and drive into the closest possible lane. For example, if you are able to turn your vehicle tightly enough to enter the left lane of the opposite side of the roadway, do so first then merge into the right lane after checking for other motorists.

    rear facing seat
    While completing the maneuver look where you want to go (green arrow), not where your car is pointed (red arrow)

  6. Complete your U turn quickly and smoothly. Return to normal speed as soon as possible. Turn off your turn signal.

When safely completed, a U turn is an excellent method of changing directions without having to exit the road you are currently driving on.

Remember that it is imperative to know the rules concerning U turns for the area in which you are driving before you attempt to make this driving maneuver.