Stoplights are a common sight especially in the city where they are used to control the flow of traffic. This begs the question, why are there roads where cars can turn right against a red light and there are places that don’t allow this to happen? We understand that in certain cities they have different rules, but this then makes it harder for a motorist to judge when it’s legal to do so or when it’s not. With that said, we want to end the confusion once and for all and discuss a few things to look out for if you want to safely and legally turn right on red.
You may turn right on a red light if it’s a solid red
We are sure by now that you know what the three lights of a stoplight mean. You must, at all costs, obey the lights – especially taking caution during a yellow light. When it comes to turning right on a red light, the first and most important step is to completely stop behind the limit line, a pedestrian lane, or the intersection line. Just because you can, doesn’t mean pedestrians and oncoming traffic on green lights should give way for you. Turn with extreme caution as you don’t have the right of way.
Turning right? Make sure you’re in the correct lane
Another important thing you need to be aware of is that you need to be in the proper lane before you turn right. Vehicles on the inner lane are not allowed to turn right. If you wish to turn right and you’re in the inner lane, you must slowly and carefully make your way to the outer lane before approaching the intersection. In preparation to turn right, flick on your turn indicator ideally a hundred feet to where you’re making the turn.
You may not turn against a red arrow light
If you see that a stoplight has a dedicated red arrow light this means that you can’t simply turn on red. The light is there to tell you when it’s safe to turn right so it is best to follow what the light says for you to avoid getting a beating-the-red-light violation. Remember to check carefully for red arrow lights or signs telling you not to turn right on red at intersections as they are your best guide in that situation. You can only turn right on a red arrow light if a traffic enforcer tells you to do so, if no order is given just stick to what the light says.
No turning when there’s a sign saying not to
The idea is simple, if there are no signboards that prohibit turning right during a red light and it’s a solid red light, you may turn right cautiously. If you see a sign with a right arrow, a red circle around it, and says “on the red” below it, you have to wait for the stoplight to turn green. In the Philippines, signs are often made up entirely of words saying “No right turn on a red signal.”
Sometimes, signs are obstructed from sight so coming to a full stop may help you inspect the surroundings. These signs are usually posted a few meters before the right turn and are commonly attached to poles.
Things to keep in mind
Now that you have established whether or not you can legally make a right turn on a red light, here are some things you still need to be aware of. Before turning, always check your side mirrors and rearview mirror. Look out for motorcycles, electric bicycles, cyclists, or electric scooters on your right before you step on the gas. Again, remember you don’t have the right of way if you’re turning right against a red light so don’t cut perpendicular traffic or honk at pedestrians crossing the road. We see a lot of drivers do this on the road and they aren’t just irritating, they also put everyone around them at risk.
You must yield to traffic. Wait for a few moments to make the turn after the vehicle in front of you, as cars approaching from your left are not obliged to stop for you. Don’t make the turn if the view to your left is obstructed by a large vehicle like a truck. It’s always safe to observe defensive driving then be sorry in the end. As we keep on saying, drive safe, everyone.