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I am travelling in Pennsylvania, USA, and I come across this sign:

Intersections here often have three sets of traffic lights, one with left turn signal signs, one with right turn signal signs, and one with none.

All of the lights in the intersection are the standard 3 light variety. The green light is either a standard circle or an arrow. It is NOT the type with a green light and a red arrow. There are no signs that say "No turn on Red".

Can I turn right on red?

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+1 I've always wondered this and was surprised to find it was about my home state! Do other states not use these signs? – turbo Feb 28 '14 at 18:54
NY does not. In the event that there is a time when you can turn right but not go straight, we have a red light and a green arrow. On a dedicated left turn, we may have a traffic light with red, yellow, and green left turn arrows. Other lanes ignore it because its an arrow (even the red) – Mike Christiansen Feb 28 '14 at 18:59
Ah okay, and I know in NJ this problem is mostly irrelevant due to jug handles, and I've never noticed it in DE. Hm, seems more confusing than anything. I've definitely not turned at intersections with these signs because I was unsure. – turbo Feb 28 '14 at 19:00
And the jug handles confused me when I first drove in NJ. That's one of the downsides of the structure of the USA. Every state does things a bit different. – Mike Christiansen Feb 28 '14 at 21:32
You should try a roundabout... Weekend drivers from New York City completely freak out when they see one... The sign is actually mostly useless. – Karlson Mar 1 '14 at 0:16
up vote 16 down vote accepted

From Pennsylvania Driver's Manual

When there is a STEADY RED LIGHT, you must stop before crossing the marked stop line or crosswalk. If you do not see any lines, stop before entering the intersection. Wait for a green light before you start.

You may turn right while the light is red, unless a NO TURN ON RED sign is posted at the intersection. You must first stop, check for and yield to pedestrians and other traffic.

You may also turn left after you stop at a red light, if you are in the left lane and are turning left from a one-way street onto another one-way street, unless a sign tells you not to turn. You must first stop and yield to pedestrians and other traffic.

And additionally

Although not common in Pennsylvania, a RED ARROW is used in other states. It means you may not turn in the direction the arrow points.

The sign you posted:

RIGHT TURN SIGNAL This sign is posted close to a traffic signal to indicate that the signal controls right turn movements.

In practice this usually means that there are situations when it is possible to turn right but not go straight.

There is also DMV Guide to Young Drivers which states:

Making right turns at intersections with lights or signs:

  • Even when the light is green, look out for traffic turning left from the oncoming lane.
  • Unless there’s a sign that says “No Turn on Red,” in Pennsylvania it’s legal to turn right even on a red light after coming to a complete stop – but only if there’s no traffic coming from the left or across the street, or pedestrians in the crosswalk.

So if you need to make a right turn on Red and there are no specific prohibitions you can do it in PA.

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Thanks! Looks like I was okay turning right on red. – Mike Christiansen Feb 28 '14 at 18:00
Interesting... Downvote with no comments... – Karlson Feb 17 at 19:01

Yes, unless another sign forbids it. The sign is there to let you know there will be a turn arrow exclusively for you. It does not disallow right on red. If there is not a sign that says "No turn on red" or "No turns," you may turn right on red.

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Good answer, but I accepted the other one due to completeness. – Mike Christiansen Feb 28 '14 at 18:01

One "gotcha" with some intersections that have a separate right turn signal is that the light may cycle green, yellow, red along with the main intersection and then quickly turn green again if/when the cross traffic from the right gets a green arrow. No matter how short the red interval, such a light must be treated very differently from one which simply stays green. If a car becomes entitled to the right of way while the light is green, it will retain that entitlement as long as the light remains green. Once the light turns yellow, unless passage through the intersection is imminent, the car must yield right of way to on-coming traffic and continue to do so--even if the light turns green again--until all such traffic has cleared the intersection.

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I have difficulty comprehending your answer and its relevance to the question. – Karlson Feb 28 '14 at 22:32
The style of intersection to which I believe the OP is referring to frequently has one right-turn green interval which coincides with the 'ahead' light, and a separate right-turn-green interval which is only for the right turn. I thought it important for readers who are unfamiliar with such intersections to be aware that even if the green intervals are very close together, the red interval between them is very important; someone who sees the light goes red and quickly green should watch out for a possible on-coming left turn in front of them. – supercat Feb 28 '14 at 22:46
Which has to do with the way that the "right on red" is performed with the yield to oncoming traffic but this has nothing to do with whether the "right on red" is allowed when a sign in the question is present as is the question – Karlson Feb 28 '14 at 23:48
The intersections in question do NOT have a separate cycle for right turn only. For instance, there is a T intersection that I go through daily. The top of the T is always green. When a car travelling through the bottom of the T triggers the light, the top of the T goes red, and then the traffic entering the top of the T gets a left green arrow (with a "Left Turn Signal" sign) and a right arrow (with a "Right Turn Signal" sign). I wonder why they don't just use a single green light? – Mike Christiansen Mar 2 '14 at 0:35
@MikeChristiansen: Your directions are a little vague; you are assuming an easy-west crossbar that matches the end of a north-south road? In that scenario, call the east end E, west and W, and south end S, and describe traffic flows beast upon the point from they enter and their departure, a light could allow EW and WE, or allow EW, ES, SE, and possibly WS, or allow EW, WS, and SW. Perhaps the lights aren't programmed to use all those states, but they could be. The style of intersection I was thinking of... – supercat Mar 2 '14 at 23:03

"Right Turn Signal" is just that. You must have a Full Green Signal or a Green Right Turn Signal to make a Right turn. You cannot make a right turn on Red at an intersection that has this signage without being in violation of the law. "No Turn on Red" means just that. You can never make a right turn on red at an intersection that has this signage without being in violation of the law. "No Signage" Right Turn On Red is permitted when the roadway is clear. this is not the same as a Yield or Merge. Right turn on red is permitted as long as you do not impede another driver.

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this is just a (contradictory) series of statements without explanation. Were they copied from somewhere? – Kate Gregory Sep 14 '15 at 21:24
Your answer is completely false. Please research. – Karlson Jul 18 at 12:22

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