In Florida, Which Driver Has The Right Of Way During A U-Turn?

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Florida personal injury attorney Paul A. Meissner, Jr., of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. weighs in on Florida’s right-of-way traffic laws

Attorney Paul Meissner

Attorney Paul Meissner

In many cases, these accidents are preventable by simply obeying traffic laws. There is some level of uncertainty among Florida drivers regarding who has the right-of-way at intersections, roundabouts, and when a driver is making a U-turn.

There were 344,170 traffic accidents in the Sunshine State in 2014, according to the latest report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). With more than 15.6 million licensed drivers and an estimated 21.3 million people living in Florida in 2018, driving on Florida’s roadways is not without risk.

“Unfortunately, Florida sees its fair share of traffic accidents, including those involving motor vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists,” said Paul A. Meissner, Jr., personal injury attorney and co-founder of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. “In many cases, these accidents are preventable by simply obeying traffic laws. There is some level of uncertainty among Florida drivers regarding who has the right-of-way at intersections, roundabouts, and when a driver is making a U-turn.”

The Official Florida Driver License Handbook details right-of-way rules, specifying who has the right to go first and who must yield the right of way in different conditions. Specifically, Florida law states:

  • Drivers should never make a three-point turn or a U-turn on a curve, a hill, the highway, or where there is a sign that prohibits U-turns
  • When drivers must go straight, left, or make a U-turn, they are to use the left lane
  • Before turning, drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in the crosswalk and oncoming traffic
  • After a complete stop at an intersection, drivers must yield the right-of-way to all other traffic already in the intersection and to pedestrians
  • The first vehicle to stop should move forward first. If two vehicles reach the intersection at the same time, the driver on the left yields to the driver on the right
  • At a two-way stop, the turning vehicle yields to the vehicle going straight
  • When entering an open intersection – one without traffic control signs or signals – drivers must yield the right-of-way if: a vehicle is already in the intersection; if entering or crossing a state highway from a secondary road; if entering a paved road from an unpaved road; or if the driver plans to make a left turn and a vehicle is approaching from the opposite direction.

“All drivers, bikers, and pedestrians have a responsibility to not only adhere to Florida’s traffic laws, but to do everything possible to avoid a traffic accident,” continued Attorney Meissner. “When an accident does occur and someone is injured, Florida’s mandatory Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance covers emergency medical expenses for all those covered under the policy, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. In cases where accident injuries are more serious, personal injury law protects those who have sustained injury in accidents that are the result of negligence. Florida’s no-fault insurance laws can be complicated, so it is best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss the best approach in your particular situation.”

To learn more about your rights if you have been injured in a car accident, contact the experienced accident attorneys at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. Located in Clearwater, Florida, the law office of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. has been serving the Tampa Bay area community for more than 46 years. An innovative practice with proven litigation skills make the firm Tampa Bay’s premier legal team, with a proven track record of success and a reputation for excellence. For more information about Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A., visit the firm website at CarlsonMeissner.com or contact the office directly at 877-728-9653.

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Mary Ann Bounacos
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