Right turn on red

Ask The Driving School Instructor: Right Turn On Red

Question: What are the rules for making a right turn on red?

Answer: There are several rules and things that you must watch for when making a right turn on red.

The first and most important rule – and this is the law in all 50 states – you must come to a complete stop at the red light before making a right turn on red. Failing to obey this law gets a lot of drivers in trouble either through involvement in a crash, or by receiving a ticket for running a red light. Many drivers, at intersections where red light cameras are installed, receive a ticket for running a red light because they seem to have forgotten this law and make a “rolling right on red.” Red means stop!

Making a right turn on red isn’t allowed at every intersection. If a “No Right Turn On Red” sign is posted, it’s illegal to turn. Sometimes, when the oncoming lane has a left turn light, an electric “No Right On Red” sign will light up. It’s your duty as a driver to be aware of all signs.

Other intersections may have a red right turn arrow. Just like a red light, a red right turn arrow means you must stop. However, in some states, Florida included, it’s legal to turn right on a red arrow after you’ve come to a complete stop unless there’s another sign posted that says “No Right On Red.” If you’re unsure of what the law is in your state, check your driving manual or, to be safe, remain stopped until you get a green arrow.

There are a lot of good reasons why you must come to a complete stop before making a right turn. Intersections can be a dangerous place and most crashes in the US happen at intersections. When you stop at a red light, before turning right, check for;

  • Pedestrians that may be in the crosswalk – they have the right-of-way.
  • Vehicles coming from the left on a green light (including bicycles and motorcycles) – they have the right-of-way.
  • Vehicles in the oncoming lane turning left on a green left turn arrow – they have the right-of-way.
  • Vehicles from the right that are making a U-turn at the intersection – they have the right-of-way.
  • Pedestrians and bicyclists entering the intersection from the right- they have the right-of-way.

Another issue with right turns on red involves driver courtesy and good common sense. Sometimes, in heavy traffic, when traffic is backed up to the intersection, drivers must stop at the white line before entering the intersection to avoid blocking the intersection, if the light should change. Along with obeying the law, they are actually doing you a favor by keeping the intersection clear for you if your light should turn green. When you see a driver stop on a green light before entering the intersection, don’t take advantage of them by seeing that as an opportunity to make a right turn on red. It’s illegal, rude, and could lead to a road rage situation.

You’re only allowed to turn right on red if the way is completely clear of all pedestrians and other traffic. Don’t allow yourself to get in the habit of a rolling right turn on red.