Rules of the Road

Rules of the Road: Can I turn right on red from a second lane?

Traffic backs up at the intersection of Telegraph Road and Meridian Street in Bellingham on April 9, 2013. When there are two right-turn lanes at a stoplight, such as on Telegraph turning north on Meridian, drivers can turn right on red from either lane, provided traffic is clear and they stop first.
Traffic backs up at the intersection of Telegraph Road and Meridian Street in Bellingham on April 9, 2013. When there are two right-turn lanes at a stoplight, such as on Telegraph turning north on Meridian, drivers can turn right on red from either lane, provided traffic is clear and they stop first. The Bellingham Herald

Question: When there are two right-turn lanes, is it legal to take a free right (at a red light) if you’re in the inner turn lane (the left lane of the two)? For example, turning right from Telegraph Road onto Meridian Street or turning right from James Street onto Sunset Drive.

Answer: Yes, it is legal to make a free right turn on red (after stopping and when it is safe to do so) from either of the marked right-turn lanes unless there is a sign that says “No Turn on Red,” in which case neither lane is allowed to turn. You must stay in the corresponding lane when you make your turn.

Rules of the Road is a regular column with questions and answers on road laws, safe driving habits and general police practices. Answers come from David Wright, a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department. For previous Rules of the Road columns or to ask a question, go to bellinghamherald.com/news/traffic/rules-of-the-road/.

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