You can turn right on a red light when:


Read on for more exciting red light details.

You can turn right on a red light if there are no pedestrians in the crosswalk:

Be sure people aren’t crossing before you turn right. When no cars are coming in the perpendicular direction, people may want to cross the street. They may even have the signal to walk at that time. When pedestrians are crossing, they have the right of way (even if they don’t have a signal). Be careful.  Also, don’t creep into the crosswalk before turning. Your car should not be in the crosswalk because it could obstruct the walking paths of pedestrians. If there is no crosswalk, stop before the crosswalk line when making your turn. A ticket-happy cop could cite you because of this, so play it safe.

You can turn right on a red light if there are no vehicles coming into your desired lane:

No matter how badly you want to make that right turn, other cars with green lights have the right of way. You must carefully look to ensure that no vehicles are coming. If you aren’t sure you can turn right in time, just wait instead of taking the risk.

Also, you must yield to the following if they are driving with a green light:

  • Bicyclists
  • Motorcyclists
  • Semi-trucks
  • Any and all other vehicles


You can turn right on a red light if there are no signs prohibiting a right turn:

Sometimes, there will be a sign clearly saying “Don’t Turn” or “No Turn on Red”.  These may be found in more highly trafficked areas, such as downtown centers or university campuses.

Some areas in the U.S. don’t allow right turns, so be familiar with local laws. For example, Nassau County, located on Long Island in New York, allows drivers to turn right on red. However, New York City, including Queens, which is situated on the border of Nassau, prohibits right turns on reds. On the most part, turning right on red has been legal since 1978 in all 50 states.

You can turn right on a red light if there are no obstructions:

If you’re wondering when can you not turn right on red, don’t turn if you can’t see or get into the lane. There may be cars parked in traffic that are waiting for another signal. If you inch into the traffic box and obstruct traffic even further, you could get ticketed and be forced to come to one of our defensive driving classes. While we appreciate your business, you probably don’t want to see us that much.


Thanks for reading, we hope you have learned something and become a safer driver!