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Can you turn right on red in North Carolina?

Nov 26, 2021

If you receive a traffic violation for turning right during a red light in North Carolina, you may face several consequences. Among others, those include fines, demerit points to your record and possible liability for injuries your infarctions may have caused.

Like many people, you may have been under the assumption that turning right on red is a perfectly legal maneuver. This is not always the case. DrivingLaws explores the instances in which it is acceptable to turn right on red under state law.

The importance of making a complete stop

Regardless of which direction you plan to go, and whether at a stoplight, stop sign or flashing red light, you must make a complete stop. For law enforcement to consider your stop complete, you must make it either before reaching a clearly marked stop line, prior to entering a crosswalk or before proceeding through an intersection. If you do not make a complete stop, you may receive a traffic violation even if your turn ended up being perfectly legal.

Conditions for making a right on red

Aside from making a complete stop, North Carolina law details other conditions under which drivers may make a right on red. Per state law, so long as no sign exists to prohibit the maneuver, you may turn right on red after making a complete stop. When you do so, you must use normal right-of-way rules and exercise extreme caution.

Though a red-light traffic violation is not a crime, it can result in points to your driving record, a fine and a possible increase to your insurance premium. For this reason, you should never accept a ticket and admit fault by paying it but rather, take the appropriate measures to fight it.

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