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The facts on turning right on a red light

Proper obedience to traffic signals is an important part of being a responsible driver on Ohio roads. When the light turns red, it is common knowledge to put on the brakes and stop at the intersection to wait for the green light to switch on. Some drivers may wonder if it is legal to make a right turn at a red light if there are no vehicles approaching that could cross into your turn path. Ohio law provides a solid answer to that question.

Section 4511.13 of Ohio’s traffic laws lay out the conditions for a right turn on red. When a motorist reaches an intersection where the traffic light has turned red, the driver is to stop. After coming to a halt, the driver is permitted to make a right turn under the same conditions as if the driver had stopped at a stop sign. If no other vehicle is approaching that has the right of way, the motorist may make the right turn.

However, there are exceptions that do not permit a right turn on red. There may be a traffic control device at the intersection that warns against making a right turn. Also, not all red lights will allow for right turns. Ohio law permits you to turn right if the red light is a solid circle. However, if the red light is a red arrow, you cannot make a turn.

Be aware that turning right on red carries special risks for smaller vehicles like motorcycles if they approach your path. The Dairyland Insurance website points out that drivers stopped at an intersection may see a motorcycle coming but misjudge how far away the motorcycle is. As a result, a motorist could pull out right into the path of the motorcycle, and if the motorcyclist cannot stop in time, a collision could result.

Even though state law allows for motorists to make right turns on red given certain conditions, it is wise to be extra vigilant while you stop and look for approaching vehicles. A wrong move can cause one or more motorists or vehicle passengers to become gravely injured or even killed on the road.

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