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We handle a lot of cases involving accidents that arise from U-turns. U-turns have a special place in the law:

(1) The driver of any vehicle shall not turn such vehicle so as to proceed in the opposite direction unless such movement can be made in safety and without interfering with other traffic.

(2) No vehicle shall be turned so as to proceed in the opposite direction upon any curve, or upon the approach to or near the crest of a grade, where such vehicle cannot be seen by the driver of any other vehicle approaching from either direction within five hundred feet.

RCW 46.61.295.

Despite the prohibition against unsafe U-turns, lots of drivers make them. Few, however, have resulted serious as the U-turn described in a recent Issaquah Press article:

The crash occurred on state Route 18 at about 11:45 p.m. after the driver of a black Subaru Impreza, a 65-year-old Snoqualmie man, stopped to assist stranded motorists in a pickup along the right road shoulder at milepost 26 just west of the Raging River.

The truck had two occupants; a 47-year-old Enumclaw woman riding in the vehicle had left to flag down help. The man in the Subaru stopped and offered her a ride.

Then, as the Subaru attempted to make a U-turn from westbound state Route 18 onto the eastbound highway, a tractor-trailer slammed into the vehicle.

Even though the law has some leeway for good samaritans, that leeway would not apply in this case. The passenger’s estate would have a claim against the good samaritan’s estate (which translates to a claim against his liability insurance carrier and/or the passenger’s uninsured or underinsured motorist carrier).

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