Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

Law changes effective January 1, 2010


Beginning January 1, 2010, Wisconsin will permit U-turns at controlled intersections UNLESS signs are installed to indicate the maneuver is prohibited by the unit of government responsible for maintaining the intersection (state, county, municipality).


  • U-turns must be made from the leftmost turn lane in the same fashion as a conventional left turn. Vehicles on the intersecting street attempting to turn right-on-red must yield to the U-turning vehicle.
  • No backing is permitted as part of the U-turn, so drivers will have to be familiar with their vehicle's turning radius. U-turns are prohibited on curves and hillcrests where visibility is less than 500 feet.
  • The new U-turn law helps control traffic on divided highways. It will also reduce issues/costs associated with condemnation where highway projects result in median closings, since reasonable access to businesses and residences across the highway median should now be possible via U-turns.

Passing on paved shoulder:

  • Passing a left-turning vehicle on the right using a PAVED shoulder is permitted.
  • This does NOT mean that a driver can pass a slower-moving vehicle on the right using the shoulder. The vehicle being passed MUST be making a left turn.
  • Also, the vehicle making the pass on the right MUST keep all four wheels on the pavement or paved shoulder.
Questions? Contact us: Wisconsin DMV email service
Call: (608) 266-2353

Last modified: August 15, 2011

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