Can You Turn Right on Red in Rhode Island?

Right turns on red are legal in Rhode Island unless there’s a sign posted at the intersection prohibiting the turn.
Written by Mariza Morin
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Right turns on red are generally legal in Rhode Island as long as there’s no sign or red arrow specifically restricting it. However, drivers must always use caution and abide by right-of-way rules when making a right turn on red. 
We all learned it when we were kids: a steady red traffic light means stop. But in most of the United States, you’re actually allowed to turn right on red. 
Right turns on red aren’t legal at every intersection, so knowing the exact law in your area is important if you want to avoid expensive traffic citations associated with right light violations. 
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Can you turn right on red in Rhode Island?

Yes, except when a traffic control device is in place prohibiting it or a steady red arrow signal is displayed.
According to
§ 31-13-6
of the State of Rhode Island General Laws, you may turn right at a steady red light if: 
  • You come to a complete stop first and check for approaching traffic
  • You yield right of way to pedestrians and other vehicles 
  • Local authorities have not posted a sign prohibiting right turns on red at a particular intersection
Basically, the best way to determine whether a right turn on red is legal is to look for the appropriate sign. If there’s no sign and the intersection is clear, make sure you come to a complete stop and then turn right.
If you’re at a flashing red light, you would treat it the same way you would a stop sign according to Rhode Island law. You can turn right, as long as you come to a complete stop first and make sure you’re in the clear to turn.
If you’re at a steady red arrow—just stop and stay put until it’s green. Rhode Island law does not allow right turns on a steady red arrow.

What about left turns on red?

Rhode Island does not allow left turns on red under any circumstances. 
Key Takeaway You can turn right on red as long as there’s no sign posted, but be sure to come to a full stop and yield to pedestrians and other drivers. 
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Penalties for an illegal right turn on red in Rhode Island

Though it’s usually legal to turn right on red in Rhode Island, it’s also possible to get a ticket if you’re caught turning right on red at an intersection that bans it. 
Generally, the fine for a stoplight or stop sign violation is $85. But depending on the circumstances, an illegal turn on red could lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if your illegal right turn causes a fatality, you could face vehicular homicide charges. 
Unlike other states, Rhode Island does not abide by a points system to keep track of your traffic offenses. But that doesn’t mean your
driving record
is not being monitored! 
Not only will you get stuck with the cost of the actual ticket, but expect your insurance premium to go up once this violation gets added to your driving record. Insurance companies want to see that you’re driving safely, and an illegal turn on red does not demonstrate safe driving.
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How to find affordable car insurance in Rhode Island

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