I never know what I am going to receive in my e-mail regarding this column. Recently it was a tongue in cheek request to save a marriage by settling the question about U-turns between husband and wife. Neither one of them realized that there are really very few places in British Columbia where a driver can make a U-turn legally.
Section 168 MVA regulates making a U-Turn, also known as a reverse turn.
First of all, if there is any type of line painted down the center of the highway one must not make a U-turn over it. It doesn't matter if it is double solid, single solid, solid and broken or a single broken line. Only the complete absence of a line allows the maneuver, subject to other limitations.
Section 155 MVA regulates crossing lines painted on the road and in general only allows crossing them to pass another vehicle or in some cases to avoid and obstruction.
Next, a U-turn must not be made where visibility is limited or it would be unsafe to do so. This would include places like on a curve or at the approach to a hillcrest.
U-turns are forbidden in a business district unless the turn is made at an intersection without traffic lights. However, the general prohibition of a U-turn at any intersection with traffic lights doesn't apply if there is a sign posted by the municipality permitting the action.
"business district" means the territory contiguous to a portion of a highway having a length of 200 m along which there are buildings used for business, industrial or public purposes occupying
(a) at least 100 m of frontage on one side of that portion, or
(b) at least 100 m collectively on both sides of that portion,
and includes that portion of the highway;
Finally, we've mentioned municipalities, and they are allowed to regulate U-turns within their boundaries through a bylaw. These bylaws can range from what has been outlined here to a total prohibition. This just adds to the difficulty because bylaws change from municipality to municipality.
Offences & Penalties
|Unsafe U-Turn||168 (a)||$121||2|
|Prohibited U-Turn||168 (b) (iii)||$121||2|
|U-Turn at Intersection||168 (b) (iv)||$167||2|
|U-Turn in Business District||168 (b) (v)||$121||2|
Provincial Driving Manual
Page 52 of Learn to Drive Smart says:
If you find you are going in the wrong direction, you may be tempted to make a U-turn. U-turns are often risky.
When you are deciding whether to make a U-turn, think about some alternatives, like driving around the block or continuing on to a side road where you can turn more safely.
Where Can You Make a U-Turn?
Everywhere else, as long as it is safe!