Can You Turn Right on Red in New York?

Right turns on red are legal in most of New York, but they are prohibited in New York City unless there is a sign that specifically states it’s allowed.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
background
Right turns on red are generally legal in the state of
New York
as long as you yield the right of way to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. However, right turns on red are illegal in
New York City
unless there is a posted sign that specifically states it’s allowed. 
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Can you turn right on red in New York?

According to
New York law
, you may generally make a right turn on a red light if:
  • You make a full stop and approach the intersection with caution
  • You yield the right of way to all oncoming traffic and pedestrians 
  • There is no sign posted that prohibits a right on red
Heads up though: if you’re in New York City, the rules are different! When driving in the Big Apple, you cannot make a right turn on red unless there is a sign posted that specifically states it’s allowed
So in short, the best way to know if you can make a right on red in New York is to know where you are and check for any specific signage. No matter what, make sure you come to a full stop before you enter the intersection and yield the right of way when required. 
If it’s a flashing red light, it’s treated the same as a stop sign in New York. Make a complete stop, check for traffic and pedestrians, and proceed with caution when it’s your turn. 
One other thing: you are not permitted to turn right on a red arrow anywhere under any circumstances. In some states, this is allowed, but in New York, you just have to wait until it turns green.

What about left turns on red?

In most of New York, you are allowed to make a left turn from a one-way street onto a one-way street as long as you obey all posted signs and yield the right of way to others. 
However, the same exception regarding New York City applies: no left turns on red unless it’s expressly permitted with a posted sign.
Key Takeaway Unless you’re in New York City, you can turn right on red in the Empire State as long as there’s no sign posted prohibiting it and you yield to all oncoming traffic. 

Penalties for an illegal right turn on red in New York

Even though it’s legal in most of the state, you can still get a ticket for making a right on red where it’s not allowed. 
A ticket for an illegal turn on red will result in three points being added to your New York driving record. The amount of the fine varies depending on the circumstances and the area, but it ranges from $50 to $300. Expect the penalties to be even more severe if:
  • You failed to yield to pedestrians or other drivers
  • You were speeding 
  • You didn’t come to a complete stop at the light
  • Anyone was injured or killed as a result of your illegal turn
  • You have other outstanding violations
Under the New York points system, 11 or more points in an 18-month period will result in getting
your license suspended
. If you’re ever unsure whether or not you can legally make a right on red, it’s best to just wait until the light turns green. Let the surly cabbie honk all he wants—it’s not worth the ticket!
In addition to the fine for the ticket itself, getting a red light violation on your record is certain to raise your insurance rates as it makes insurers see you as a higher-risk driver. 
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