When Can You Make a U-Turn?

I'm almost 15 and a half and I have started drivers ed. I'm kinda confused about a pretty simple question.
Ok so say I'm at a 4 way intersection, and both streets travel in both directions. I want to make a U-Turn.
So what I understand is that I'd get over into the farthest left lane and

I'm almost 15 and a half and I have started drivers ed. I'm kinda confused about a pretty simple question.
Ok so say I'm at a 4 way intersection, and both streets travel in both directions. I want to make a U-Turn.
So what I understand is that I'd get over into the farthest left lane and signal.

So: Do I make the U-Turn once the light in front of me turns green? In that case I would also have to yield to oncoming traffic, correct? And if there is a left turn arrow and it turns green, I'm allowed to make a U-Turn and not just a right turn, correct?

Additional question: If I was planning on turning left or making a full U-Turn at any intersection, would I pull out into the street and then stop and wait for a gap? Or do I stay behind the line and wait?

Thank You!
I live in California

Other answer:

mr:
You have the basic concept correct and you understand the dangers.

First thing to check though is to make sure U turns are legal there. If there is a sign that says no U turns, then you can't do them naturally, but some municipalities have local ordinances that allow them only where posted. (There will be a sign with an arrow showing left and U turns) Your Driver's Ed instructor will tell you if that is the case in your area.

Another thing that I see many do which is unsafe and illegal in most places, is to pull into the intersection while waiting for a chance to turn. U or simply a left turn doesn't matter in this case. The law is very specific: You MUST wait behind your lane's stop line until you can complete the movement safely and as a single maneuver without having to stop. If the light changes and you are stuck in the intersection because you pulled out there and waited for traffic to clear, you can be ticketed for running the red light, making an illegal turn and if an accident happens, you are automatically at fault because you were supposed to yield to all traffic.

A good rule to consider (not the law, so don't argue with a tester, or driving instructor about it) is to not do U-turns for safety reasons. It isn't that much longer to go a block further and turn left, go a block, turn left, go a block and turn left and when you return to the street where you wanted to make the U-turn, turn right. Takes longer and may be a bit out of the way, but compared to the delay when you get T-boned by someone flying in the opposite direction, or hit head on by someone coming out of the street in front of which you were doing the U-turn makes for a much nicer trip. (The head on crash was because that driver didn't realize you were doing a U-turn and wanted to turn into the same place you would end up at the end of your U-turn. That driver failed to yield and thus is at fault, but your visit to the hospital and your car being destroyed won't make that feel any better!)

Thomas:
The overall principle is Safety, which essentially means that if you get into an accident, you did something that was not safe. You can make a U-turn at an intersection if there is no sign saying "No U-turn". You can also make a U-turn on a green arrow if there is no sign saying, "No U-turn". As far as waiting until there is a space in traffic before beginning the U-turn or not, that would more depend on how much room there is and where you would be pulling out or into at the half way point of the U-turn.

Realize that other drivers will do stupid things. I live in a part of town where there are a lot of retired people. I was driving down the street and a car pulled in front of me from a side street on the left side, from a side street on the left. It was as if he did not see me at all. I pulled up next to him and we had a few words. He was 70 years old. He was driving a little fancy sports car convertible. He had a dog on his lap while he was driving. He must have been paying more attention to the dog when he was also pulling out into traffic. Yes, you can obey all the laws but realize that stupid people stay up late at night thinking of new ways to be stupid. Always factor that in. Otherwise you will be in a few wrecks before you learn that lesson. Don't assume that everyone out on the road is an intelligent, safe, courteous driver.

StephenWeinstein:
First, look carefully for signs saying whether U-turns are allowed. At many intersections, you are not allowed to make U-turns, and there should be signs saying so, but they may be hard to find.

If it is just a round green light, you have to yield to oncoming traffic. If it is a green left arrow at an intersection where U-turns are allowed, then you can turn left without yielding to oncoming traffic (they have a red light when you have a green left arrow). If it is a green right arrow, then you cannot turn left or make a U-turn.

logicalgal:
In most areas it is illegal to make a Uturn at a traffic light or on any roadway, but may be made at any intersection….you have no right of way and must obey all signs. The only exception would be when there is a specialized "Uturn" light installed at the traffic light.
oklatom:
Any time it is allowed, and safe to do so. If you are at an intersection with a protected left turn you may also do a u-turn.
Edmunds:
Where there is a sign saying you can.
Hannah:
Where? Global internet. Local traffic laws,.
One Who Sits on Pizza:
Where? Global internet. Local traffic laws,.
montiel:
Where there is a sign saying you can.
Sally:
Where there is a sign saying you can.

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