Location determines if U-turns are regulated


POSTED: Thursday, April 16, 2009

Question: When I have been trying to find a parking space and find a spot, I've encountered people coming from the opposite direction who put their blinker on, then do a U-turn to get into that space. They expect you to give it up to them.

Is there a law that says basically you're not supposed to be doing that? One time I had a bad confrontation with a woman who said that was her space because she had her blinker on. She got very threatening. Police came and they talked to her, but I don't know what they said to her. I see that happening so many times, so I'm just curious.

Answer: It depends on where this happens.

Parking lots, for the most part, are on private property, so regulating U-turns in those areas is beyond the scope of enforcement by police officers, said Lt. Gordon Shiraishi, of the Honolulu Police Department's Traffic Division.

Unless there are signs prohibiting certain movements, those parking lots are not under any type of traffic regulations under the Hawaii Revised Statutes or Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, he said.

On public roadways, U-turns are prohibited in certain areas and/or situations under Section 291C-82, but does not deal with making U-turns for parking purposes. U-turns also may be prohibited as a matter of following traffic-lane markings (solid lines, etc.), Shiraishi said.

Similarly, he pointed to Section 15-8.4 of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, which says, generally, “;The driver of any vehicle shall not turn such vehicle so as to proceed in the opposite direction upon any street in a business district, upon any highway with three or more lanes, or at any intersection where traffic is controlled by traffic signal lights, except as otherwise permitted by official signs and markings.”;

“;Depending on the situation, making a U-turn to get to a parking space on a public roadway may be legal or may be prohibited as guided”; by the various laws cited, Shiraishi said.

More specific information is needed to respond to your exact situation: location, solid or broken lines (whether white or yellow) on the roadway, and distance of vehicles approaching in the opposite direction help determine whether a U-turn is legal or not, Shiraishi said.

At a certain point, personal safety is a consideration.

No matter how great a parking stall is, you're advised to avoid confronting another driver and to call 911 if you feel threatened.

Beyond what laws may be applicable, sometimes it boils down to just common courtesy and to defer to whoever was there first, either waiting for the stall to open or with the blinker on.



To the people who found my husband Teodorico Basa's wallet on March 3. He misplaced his wallet and assumed it was left on Waipahu Express Bus No. 81 at 6 a.m. I called the bus company to see if anyone had found it. Two days later, someone called me to let me know they had found the wallet. Intact were his wedding band, all his credit cards and $181 in cash. I was so happy to find out that there are people out there who are honest. — Petty Basa


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