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Law makes stoplight U-turns legal

Wisconsin has two new laws that let drivers do what many of us thought was always legal - make U-turns at stoplights and pass a vehicle on the right as long as there's a paved shoulder.

The Legislature passed the changes with almost no fanfare, and they took effect Jan. 1.

Assemblyman John Steinbrink, D-Pleasant Prairie, said many drivers were upset about getting tickets for U-turns at stoplights and passing on the right because they always thought it was allowed.

Many states allow U-turns at controlled intersections unless a sign bans it. The same is true for passing a vehicle that's waiting to turn left, as long as there's enough pavement on the right to do it.

The Department of Transportation said it wanted to update its law so people are no longer punished for what they always thought they could do.

Passing on the right is still illegal on gravel shoulders. U-turns are still banned where visibility is less than 500 feet, and a driver cannot back up to complete a U-turn.