Can You Make a Right Turn on Red in Alabama?

car at a red light with bicyclists to the right of it

Some cities in the United States and worldwide prohibit drivers from turning right at a red light. But can you make a right turn on red in Alabama?

Alabama state law follows the general practice in the U.S. of allowing motorists to turn right on a red light after first stopping at the intersection to yield to pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles with the right-of-way. However, some municipalities prohibit right turns on red lights at specific intersections and put up signs warning drivers against the practice.

Even where the law allows right turns at red lights, drivers should exercise caution to avoid striking other motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians with the right-of-way.

Alabama Laws on Turning Right on Red

Under Alabama law, a driver who approaches a red light at an intersection intending to turn right must stop before crossing the stop line or, at intersections without a stop line, before entering a marked crosswalk.

Unless signage at the intersection prohibits right turns on red, the driver may cautiously enter the intersection to turn right. However, drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully crossing the intersection or in a marked crosswalk and to other vehicular traffic proceeding legally through the intersection (including cross-traffic or left-turning traffic from the opposite lanes with a green light).

Dangers of Turning Right on Red and Related Accidents

Various municipalities across the country have begun banning or restricting the practice of turning right on red due to the risk of traffic accidents. For instance, a driver who turns right at a red light may collide with pedestrians trying to cross the perpendicular street. Motorists might also hit cyclists who stop at the intersection or turn right themselves. Finally, drivers might crash into cross traffic traveling straight through a green light or left-turning traffic on the opposite side of the road with a green light.

Precautions to Take Before Turning Right on Red

Before you turn right on red, you should remember to take the following steps to help avoid crashing into other road users:

  • Come to a complete stop before crossing the stop line or marked crosswalk at the intersection.
  • Look for any signage prohibiting right turns on red at that intersection.
  • Check your right-hand side mirror for bicyclists traveling along your vehicle’s right side.
  • Look left to check for cross-traffic traveling straight through the intersection with a green light.
  • Check the opposing side of traffic for any vehicles turning left into the road you plan to turn right onto.

Injured Due to a Negligent Right Turn on Red? Contact Us Today

If you’ve gotten hurt in a motor vehicle accident caused by a driver negligently taking a right turn on a red light, you may have a claim to recover compensation for your injuries and losses. Reach out to the law firm of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., to learn more about your legal options for seeking financial relief.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case review with an experienced auto accident attorney.

Since 1966, our lawyers have been standing up for injured victims and taking cases to court in North Alabama and all across the state. If you’re hurt in an accident, you want to be sure that you have the most qualified injury & accident lawyers representing you with a proven track record representing injured victims in the courts.