How to Make a Right Turn at a Red Light

Two Parts:Stopping and CheckingCompleting the Turn

In the United States, it is generally legal to make a right hand turn on a red light, although there are states that are exceptions to this. The right-turn-on-red laws also vary from country to country. If you are driving somewhere where it is legal to make a right turn on red, be sure to check traffic and pedestrians in order to keep yourself and everyone around you safe.

Part 1
Stopping and Checking

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    Make sure that you are in the right lane. Do not swerve into the right lane, or cut anyone off (abruptly move into the lane without adequate room).
    • If you cannot get into the right lane, do not attempt to turn on red.
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    Begin signaling about 100 feet (30.5 m) before you intend to turn. If your turn signal is still on, you can leave it on. You can also turn it off briefly before signalling your turn.
    • For the safety of drivers and bicyclists around you, you should never begin your turn without signalling.
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    Check the stop light for a “No Turn on Red” sign. In some states, you cannot turn on red if there is a red right arrow, so check your state laws.[1]
    • Many cities also have laws in addition to, or separate from, state laws. Make sure you know all the laws in your city.
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    Come to a complete stop. If there is a crosswalk, stop at the crosswalk. Otherwise, stop at the limit line.
    • You must stop completely before making your turn. Do not coast through the turn, even if all appears to be clear. [2]
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    Check for pedestrians and cyclists. Pedestrians crossing always have the right of way. Cyclists may also be coming behind you. If there is a bike lane, you must signal and enter it just as you would a regular lane. [3]
    • Oftentimes cyclists pull out further into the intersection, and may not be required to obey red lights. Keep this in mind as you check for them.

Part 2
Completing the Turn

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    Begin to inch out into the intersection.[4] There may be parked cars blocking your view of oncoming traffic. Make sure the front of your car is not inching into traffic, but also make sure that you can see completely.
    • If you cannot see completely, do not make the turn.
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    Yield to other vehicles. Watch everyone who is moving on their green light, including bicycles and motorcycles. This can include people on the right making a U-turn.
    • If it is a very big intersection, there may be people across from you that have a left turn arrow, so be sure to watch the whole road. [5]
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    Complete the right turn. You should begin and end the turn in the lane nearest to the right side of the road.
    • Unless there is a sign indicating otherwise, always turn into the lane closest to you, the right lane.

Warnings

  • Occasionally, there may be a “ No Right Turn on Red Light” sign. When you see this sign, you must wait until the light is green to make a right turn.
  • Do not attempt a right turn if there are pedestrians in or about to enter the crosswalk.
  • In some states, it is illegal to make a right turn on a red light. There may not be a sign warning drivers of this law. [6] Be sure you know the laws in the area you drive.

Article Info

Categories: Driving Basics