There’s nothing quite like the feeling of realizing you’ve forgotten something at your last stop—just as you pass the highway exit that could take you swiftly back. Now you’re looking at another 10 to 20 miles round trip, maybe, to catch the next exit, and you might consider making an illegal U-turn to save some time. But are those 20 minutes worth risking your life?
Three Iowans were killed and five more wounded after U-turns led to two car crashes in late April and early May. In both cases, the drivers were using the interstate crossover lane reserved for emergency vehicles and snowplows.
Illegal for a reason
As KCRG-TV9 reported, troopers addressed the crashes and pointed out that U-turns on the crossover lanes are illegal for a reason: They’re dangerous. Drivers trying to merge from a crossover lane don’t always understand how fast traffic is going, and troopers point out that the people who drive law enforcement and emergency vehicles receive special training to take those turns.
Inviting insult after injury
Due to the speeds involved in crashes on the interstate, they can easily lead to serious injuries or fatalities. And even if a driver manages to survive an accident after making such a U-turn, that driver might be in for another shock. Because the turn is illegal, it counts against the driver in the assessment of fault that follows the accident. The driver might be stuck in a hospital bed, racking up some steep medical expenses, and find him or herself sued for damages by the other driver.
Remember the bigger picture
Every day, we decide whether to pursue instant gratification or to hold off for something bigger and better. This is true even when you’re thinking about taking a U-turn to shave a few minutes off your drive. Taking the U-turn puts you at risk both physically and legally. Factor in the lives and health of your passengers and the emotional well-being of the people who love you and want to see you safely home, and there’s just no choice: There’s no way it’s worth risking your whole life just to save a few minutes.