Can You Make a Left Turn on Red?
Simply put, the answer is Yes.
I’ve been asked this question numerous times. And the answer is, “It depends.” But first, let’s clarify the question.
What most people intend to ask is if it is legal to make a left turn onto a one-way street with traffic heading to the left after having come to a complete stop at a red light. The answer, in most cases, is “Yes, this is a legal maneuver.”
According to a 2003 pamphlet issued by AAA, the following locations prohibit a left turn on red:
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- New York City
Obviously, if there is a red left-turn arrow, a left turn is expressly prohibited.
Does it matter if the street I’m currently on is a one-way or two-way street?
Unfortunately, I do not know of which states make a distinction. To be 100% safe, I suggest only making a left turn on red when the street you’re on is also a one-way street.