You can turn right on red when:
- There are no pedestrians in the crosswalk
- There are no vehicles coming into your desired lane
- There are no signs prohibiting a right turn
- There are no obstructions
Also, when turning right on red, 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 limit line when making your turn. A ticket-happy cop could also cite you because of this, so play it safe.
Read on about the unusually complex intricacies of turning right on a red light.
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.
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 make it in time, just wait instead of taking the risk.
Also, you must yield to the following if they are driving with a green light:
- Any and all other vehicles
There are no signs prohibiting a right turn
Sometimes, there will be a sign clearly saying “Don’t turn.” 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.
There are no obstructions
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 come to us.