Improper Turns – Traffic Tickets in New York

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English: A rare but beautiful sight: a turn on...

English: A rare but beautiful sight: a turn on red sign in NYC! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’re following your GPS, trying to drive safely on the road and locate your destination.  For some reason you missed the spot you were supposed to turn and instead kept driving down the road.  You know you have to turn around but the now you realize you need to drive a couple miles before you find an exit to properly turn back around.  Next thing you know you’re looking around to see if you can pull a U-turn.  You think the coast is clear so you make a quick U-turn and get onto the other side of the road.  Unfortunately, the red and blue lights are flashing behind you and you’ve been caught making an illegal U-turn in New York.

This temporary lapse in judgment now cost you the time you were trying to save making that turn and now you are looking at a day in court with points on your license and a fine.  Article 28 of New York’s Vehicle & Traffic Law covers turning and U-turn infractions.  Namely section 1160-(e) involves improper U-turns where a first offense is $150 fine, $93 surcharge and 2 points on your license.  The fines increase to $300 for a second offense and $450 for a third offense within 18 months.

What Are The Basic Regulations When Making Turns In New York?

For U-Turns remember:

  • U-turns should always be made from the furthermost left lane and into the furthermost left lane when it is permissible by law.  Always looks to see if there are any signs that are posted.

For Right turns remember:

  • Drivers should approach and make a right turn as close as practicably possible to the right hand curb
  • Remember to always use your turn signals at least 100 feet before making the right turn.
  • At the traffic signal, if you are able to turn right on red remember to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic.

For Left turns remember:

  • Check for any signs that might prohibit you from making a left turn.
  • Unless you have a green left-turn arrow indicating you can make the left turn, you must yiel to oncoming traffic at a traffic signal.
  • Also, remember to use your turn signal at least 100 feet before making the left turn.

Should I Hire An Attorney?

At the very least you should consult with an attorney to see whether you should fight your ticket.  Moving infractions can have a major impact on your license and insurance rates.  If you have received a traffic ticket for making an improper turn or U-turn call The Rosenblum Law Firm today and find out how our team of skilled NY traffic ticket attorneys can help you fight your ticket.  We have represented thousands of clients over the years and have saved clients from losing their license and hundreds of dollars in fines and increases to their insurance.

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This post was written by Adam Rosenblum

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  • Jon
    November 3, 2017

    I received my first ticket yesterday for an improper left turn. I took a left turn a little too tight and scraped the front end a a car stopped on the road i was turning on. I am 17, have my junior lisence and this is my first traffic violation. Should i try and fight the ticket?

    • RLF Attorneys
      November 9, 2017

      Jon – what offense are you currently charged with?

  • Mike
    November 3, 2017

    I was driving east in the right lane on 42nd St behind a truck. Approximately 100 feet from 11th Ave, the truck stopped in front of an apartment building very close to the corner and put on its flashers. I went around the truck. I was in the middle lane and traffic was coming up behind me. In front of the double parked truck was a taxi discharging a passenger. The right lane also had a solid white line. In addition, I had been to a doctor 2 days prior for intense pain in my right shoulder (I have the medical records). The pain was still present. I didn’t want to block traffic so I continued and made a wide turn from the middle lane onto 11th Ave after the solid white line ended. A cop was sitting half way between 42 & 41st streets on the east side of 11th Ave in his cruiser facing south. . He didn’t ask me any questions & gave me a 1163(a) ticket for an “Improper turn.” He did not cite me for failure to signal. Isn’t VTL1163(a) given for failure to signal? Shouldn’t he have cited VTL 1160(a)? He couldn’t see the truck double parked on 42nd St. from his position. I’ve never received a ticket since I received my license 34 yrs. ago. Do I have a case?

    • RLF Attorneys
      November 9, 2017

      VTL 1163(a) is issued for ‘unsafe turn without a signal.’ A reading of the statute illustrates that it may be given for an unsafe turn, as well as an unsafe turn without a signal.

  • Pat
    August 10, 2017

    Hello. I was on Shelter Rock Road in North Hills Nassau County NY. I drove into the left lane (which had a left turn arrow marking on the ground) and made a U-turn. There were no signs where I turned. The cop said that U-turns are not allowed on that road. I looked it up on the towns website and it says what the cop said. I’m not from the area nor am I familiar with the area. Is there a chance that the judge will cut me a break and not give me points on my license?

    • RLF Attorneys
      August 11, 2017

      Pat – what type of offer you receive from the court will depend on numerous factors, including your previous record. Not being familiar with the area will unfortunately not be a defense here.

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