Christina Rivenbark & Associates ATTORNEYS AT LAW

What to know about turning right on a red light

Many drivers would say that turning right on a red light is fine as long as you make sure there is no oncoming traffic. However, you should keep in mind that not every state permits motorists to turn right after stopping on red at an intersection. Fortunately, North Carolina law spells out the conditions that permit you and other motorists to make right turns without legal repercussions.

According to state law, when a motorist approaches a red light, the driver has to come to a complete stop. From there, the driver has to yield the right of way to pedestrians and traffic that are traveling through the intersection. The motorist also must wait to see if pedestrians are approaching the intersection and if they are so close that they are about to cross in front of the vehicle and any other drivers that are stopped at the red light. Once these conditions are met, the driver can make a right turn.

Some red lights will flash a steady red arrow instead of a solid circle. For a time, it was actually legal to turn right on a red arrow as you would on solid red, but according to WCNC out of Charlotte, the state changed the law in 2012 to forbid making right turns at a red arrow. Even as of late 2018, many North Carolina drivers do not know about this update in state law. Despite ignorance of this change, motorists are still subject to fines and tickets for not heeding the prohibition on making right turns on a red arrow.

Ultimately, the best bet for any driver while encountering a red light is to drive defensively and be on the lookout for approaching vehicles at an intersection. Still, if you meet the conditions specified under state law, you should have no legal issues with making a right turn at a solid red light.

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