USA and Canada Holiday Hints
Justin JIH (external link verified Jun-03) reports that it is now legal to turn right on a red light throughout the Province of Québec except in the Island of Montreal.
You must always come to a complete stop and check that the way is clear before making a right turn on a red light.
The "turn right on red" rule was introduced as a petrol saving measure in the 1970's. It is designed to avoid cars sitting at lights wasting petrol when they could safely turn and continue on their way.
Some junctions have signs indicating "No right turn on red", or "No turns on red". This is usually due to the junction frequently being busy or problems with visibility.
This appears to be borne out by the following statement on the Florida Department Of Transportation's web site: "After stopping, you may turn right on the red arrow at most intersections if the way is clear. Some intersections display a "No Turn On Red" sign, which you must obey. A left turn on a red arrow from a one-way street onto a one-way street is also allowed unless a sign prohibits this turn." However, the very next paragraph throws this into confusion regarding left turns: "A red left arrow is the same as a circular red indication. The motorist facing a steady red arrow signal shall not enter the intersection and shall stop at a clearly marked stop line. The motorist may only proceed when a green arrow indication is displayed." (Traffic Operations Office - Traffic Signals Frequently Asked Questions; checked Jul-02)
The California Driver Handbook 2002 (external link verified Jul-02) says clearly: "A red arrow means stop until the green signal or green arrow appears. A turn may not be made against a red arrow." (Laws And Rules Of The Road - Traffic Control At Intersections) and later: "A right or left turn may not be made against a red arrow." (Laws And Rules Of The Road - Turns; checked Jul-02).
The Oct-98 printed edition of the Illinois Driver's Handbook "Rules Of The Road" is less clear on the point: "The red arrow means do not make the movement shown by the arrow until a green arrow appears" (Chapter Eight: Traffic Signals And Pavement Markings - Traffic Signals - Arrows). However, when I checked the same section in the online version of "Rules Of The Road" in Jul-02 the wording was as follows: "Red Arrow: The red arrow means do not make the movement shown by the arrow until a green arrow appears. You may make a right turn at a red arrow, or a left turn at a red arrow when turning from a one-way street onto another one-way street that has traffic moving to the left. In both instances, drivers must come to a full stop and yield the right-of way to oncoming traffic and pedestrians." Perhaps the law in Illinois has been changed or clarified.
The Oregon Department Of Transport web site document "Oregon Supplements To The Manual On Uniform Traffic Control Devices Millennium Edition, March 2002" says: "Except when a sign is in place prohibiting a turn on red, vehicular traffic facing a steady red arrow signal indication may enter the intersection to turn right into a two-way street, or to turn right or left into a one-way street in the direction of traffic upon the one-way street after stopping. Such vehicular traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection."
Justin JIH (external link verified Jun-03) states that:
However, in Aug-02 Matthius Roth sent me this comment:
In Germany it is allowed to turn right on a red traffic light, when there is a fixed green arrow to the right below the traffic light. It was taken over from former DDR traffic rules in the early '90. Please note: The green arrow acts as a "STOP" sign, the car must stand before you can turn to the right, even when there is no other traffic.(DDR refers to the German Democratic Republic, in other words the former East Germany.)
Justin JIH reports that outside North America, the only countries known to permit right turns on red lights are The People's Republic Of China (but not Taiwan), the Dominican Republic, South Korea, Mexico City in Mexico and Myanmar.
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