At CashCarBuyers, we take pride in informing and educating our readers about anything and everything vehicle. Today, we are diving into the depths of traffic history, law, and some of the newest cars on the market to keep you safe. The left on red, meaning you as a driver can turn left even though the light is red has been a strife with controversy for years. It is a law that you can’t make a left on red? Are there some states that allow this maneuver? Discover all the answers to these queries and check out these tips to become the ultimate safe driver.
Brief History of the Traffic Light
Where did the traffic light even come from? Before we get too ahead of ourselves let’s go back and view the origins of this phenomenon to answer this burning query. The early 1900s is when the traffic light first came to the United States and by 1923 the first-ever three-position traffic light was patented by African American inventor Garrett Morgan. After this initial invention, things took off for the traffic light, and as we all know it has affected our lives in drastic ways for worse or better.
Also, we think it would be helpful to briefly overview the true meaning of all three colors on that dreaded traffic light. IdriveSafely, a platform that provides information on all things automotive shared more details on each color. According to IdriveSafely, “Green means go. It is that simple, but it’s still best to check both ways for oncoming traffic that may not be paying attention or is running the light. Yellow means slow down and prepare to stop. It does not mean full-throttle ahead. While you may get away with gunning it into the intersection, running a yellow can lead to tickets and dangerous accidents. Red lights are a clear and consistent warning to stop. Even where right turns are allowed on red lights, you must come to a complete stop before turning right. You must also yield to any through traffic, which has the right of way.”
As we all know, there are also more traffic light variations other than the traditional big three. IDriveSafely explains, “Flashing Red is the same as a stop sign, generally used at four-way intersections where there is minimal traffic. When arriving at a flashing red light, make a full and complete stop. Flashing Red Arrows similarly means to stop and then proceed to take the turn. Flashing Yellow lights mean yield or signal caution, like outside of a fire station. There are no all-direction flashing yellow lights since it is prohibited in the United States. If you have a flashing yellow light, you are to yield to oncoming traffic. Flashing Yellow Arrows are part of a four-signal traffic protected turn traffic light. These are used in some states after a protected green turn signal or arrow but before a steady yellow arrow. When a flashing yellow arrow is shown, you can take the turn after yielding to pedestrians and traffic. Steady Yellow Arrows maintain the normal yellow light caution in three-light signals, meaning to stop or prepare to stop.”
What Does Left on Red Actually Mean?
Now that we have learned a brief history of the traffic light let’s look deeper into what does taking a left on red means. According to driversed there are two separate definitions for turning left in a vehicle and for turning right. The experts at driversed advise for turning right, “As you prepare to turn, reduce speed and stay as far to the right as possible. Begin the turn in the lane nearest to the right-hand curb and end the turn in the lane nearest the right-hand curb. Give a turn signal. Yield to pedestrians who may be crossing your path. Scan for any bicyclist in your path. Avoid making wide, sweeping turns in the other lane.”
For turning left driversed advises, “Turn on the left turn signal before you make the turn and slow down. Look both ways and make sure that the oncoming lanes are clear. Make the turn from the designated lane (use left lane). Do not enter into the right lane. In some states, it is illegal to enter the right lane after the turn is completed.” This last line is incredibly important. In its essence, a left turn at a right light means you need to turn from the designated left lane being mindful to not cross into the right lane until your turn is fully completed. Now that e have these two definitions completely down let’s look at what states allow a turn on left and those that prohibit this practice.
In What State Can I Turn Left on a Red Light?
Ahhh the age-old question. Now, let’s get out some bullet points and figure this out. According to AxleAddict, here are the nitty-gritty pin-points for your left-turning adventures. AxleAddict states, “Five states permit left turns at red lights from a one- or two-way street onto a one-way street (but only when there is no sign posted to prohibit the turn):” The states that AxleAddict lists are; Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, Oregon, and Washington as the states where you can turn left on red.” AxleAddict continues, “So in these states, unless you see a sign posted warning against it, you might make the turn but only after coming to a complete stop at the red light and giving the right of way to any vehicle in or nearing the intersection.”
So what is the bad news? AxleAddict lets us down gently with, a full list of states you can’t turn left on red as described below. “Connecticut, Missouri (although Kansas City is an exception), New York City (also no turning right on red), North Carolina, Rhode Island, New Jersey (NJ state law S39:4-115(b) makes an allowance for right on red, but not for left on red). South Dakota (unless allowed by local ordinance), Maine, New Hampshire, District of Columbia, and Guam.”
Top Four Safety Tips That Help You Turn Left On Red
Now that we have learned more about the rules governing the open road, let’s talk about some safety tips we should all be following regardless of what state we reside in.
1. Buckle Up
This may seem like a no-brainer but wearing a seat belt is incredibly important to keep you safe as well as other drivers on the open road. Also, it is important to teach young children the habits of safe driving like wearing a seatbelt as early as you can. Practice makes perfect, so teach your children the importance of a life-saving seatbelt.
2. Don’t Drink & Drive
Drinking and driving is definitely a no go. Even if you have one alcoholic drink that is not an excuse to drive while intoxicated. It is imperative whether you have one drink or multiple, that you find a safe way to drive home from the bar or a friend’s home. Now with ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft, you can always find a ride day or night.
3. Always Keep Your Lights On
When driving, it is an important safety issue to keep your headlights on day or night. We say day or night because even if you are driving during the day it is imperative to add as much visibility as possible. Having your headlights is a great way to illuminate yourself and to help other drivers see you on the open roads or the city streets.
4. Don’t Drive Distracted
Whether it is a screaming toddler, a great new song or a gorgeous view distracted driving is dangerous. It is dangerous because your full attention is not on open roads or other drivers. One way to keep yourself less distracted is to drive in silence. Though this may sound boring, you can use this silent car time to meditate or think about the upcoming day.
Turning Left On Red Wrap Up
That’s all folks! In this article, we discussed the history of the traffic light and specifically went through what each color really means for all drivers regardless of what state you reside in. We illustrated the rules for or for not turning left on a red light. Some states allow this practice as others do not so it is important to double and triple check the rules for your individual state. Lastly, in this piece, we wanted to provide four safety tips for all drivers who want to turn left on red, drive on the open roads or slide through the city streets. For those that have additional questions on how to sell your vehicle or how much you could receive for your trade-in contact CarCashBuyers today!