Most drivers are familiar with the right on red rule, which allows you to turn right at a red light after coming to a complete stop. However, the laws around right on red in Los Angeles can be confusing with signs restricting turns and exceptions for certain intersections.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: Right on red is generally legal in LA unless signage states otherwise, but be sure to watch for ‘No Turn on Red’ signs and look before turning at complex intersections.

Understanding California’s Basic Right on Red Law

California’s basic Right on Red law allows drivers to make a right turn after coming to a complete stop at a red traffic light. This law is implemented to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion at intersections.

By allowing right turns on red, drivers can save time and fuel, making the overall driving experience more efficient.

Can turn right after stopping at red light

When faced with a red traffic light, drivers can legally make a right turn after coming to a complete stop, as long as there are no signs prohibiting a right turn on red. This applies to both residential and commercial areas in Los Angeles and throughout the state of California.

It’s important to note that this law only applies to right turns and not left turns or U-turns.

Did you know? The Right on Red law was first introduced in the United States in 1975 as a way to save fuel during the oil crisis. Since then, it has been implemented in almost all states, including California.

Must yield to pedestrians and oncoming traffic

While making a right turn on red is allowed, drivers must always yield to pedestrians and oncoming traffic. This means that before proceeding with the right turn, drivers must ensure that there are no pedestrians crossing the street and that there is no oncoming traffic approaching from the left.

Failing to yield in these situations can result in accidents and violations of traffic laws.

Important tip: Always double-check for pedestrians, especially in busy areas such as downtown Los Angeles, where foot traffic is high.

Does not apply at all intersections

While the Right on Red law is generally applicable at most intersections in California, there are some exceptions. Certain intersections may have signs that prohibit right turns on red, and drivers must comply with these signs.

Additionally, some intersections may have special signals or pedestrian crossings that restrict right turns on red. It’s crucial to be aware of these exceptions and to follow the specific instructions given at each intersection.

For more information: Visit the California Department of Motor Vehicles website for detailed information on California traffic laws and regulations.

Watching for ‘No Turn on Red’ Signs

When navigating the streets of Los Angeles, it’s important to pay attention to the various traffic signs and signals. One sign that drivers should be particularly mindful of is the “No Turn on Red” sign.

These signs are posted at intersections where right turns are prohibited during certain times or under specific conditions.

Signs posted where right turns prohibited

The “No Turn on Red” signs are typically placed at intersections where it may be unsafe or disruptive to make a right turn on a red light. These signs are often seen at busy intersections where there is heavy pedestrian traffic, limited visibility, or other potential hazards.

It’s crucial for drivers to watch out for these signs and abide by them to ensure the safety of themselves and others on the road.

May vary by time of day, like during rush hour

It’s important to note that the restrictions on right turns on red lights may vary depending on the time of day. In some cases, these restrictions may only apply during specific hours, such as during rush hour when traffic volumes are high.

This is done to improve traffic flow and reduce the risk of accidents during peak times. Drivers should always be aware of the time and any temporary signage that may indicate restrictions on right turns.

Fines for violating ‘No Turn on Red’ signs

Violating a “No Turn on Red” sign can result in a traffic citation and a fine. The exact penalties may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the severity of the violation. It’s essential for drivers to familiarize themselves with the local traffic laws and regulations to avoid any potential fines or legal consequences.

Remember, it’s always better to be patient and wait for the green light than to risk a violation and potential accident.

To learn more about traffic laws and regulations in Los Angeles, you can visit the official website of the City of Los Angeles or the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Using Caution at Complex Intersections

When navigating right on red in Los Angeles, it is important to exercise caution, especially at complex intersections. These intersections often have multiple turn lanes, which can complicate right turns.

Multiple turn lanes can complicate turns

At intersections with multiple turn lanes, it can be challenging to determine which lane is the correct one for making a right turn. It is crucial to pay close attention to road markings and signs to ensure you are in the proper lane.

Failure to do so could result in a collision or a traffic violation.

Pedestrian traffic may obstruct view

Another factor to consider when making a right turn on red is the presence of pedestrians. In busy areas of Los Angeles, pedestrian traffic can obstruct your view of oncoming vehicles. Always take extra care to check for pedestrians before proceeding with a right turn on red.

Watch for bus lanes and streetcars

Some intersections in Los Angeles are equipped with dedicated bus lanes or streetcar tracks. These lanes are designed to ensure efficient public transportation but can present challenges when making a right turn on red.

Be aware of these lanes and make sure you do not enter them when making your turn.

Checking Local Traffic Laws and Exceptions

Some cities prohibit turns onto certain streets

When navigating right on red laws in Los Angeles, it is crucial to be aware that some cities within the metropolitan area have specific regulations that prohibit making right turns onto certain streets.

For example, in downtown Los Angeles, there are certain intersections where right turns on red are not allowed during designated hours. These restrictions are put in place to ensure pedestrian safety and to manage traffic flow in congested areas.

Areas like Westwood have banned right on red

In certain areas, such as Westwood, right turns on red are completely banned. This means that drivers must come to a complete stop and wait for the traffic signal to turn green before making a right turn.

This restriction is typically enforced in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic or where visibility is limited due to buildings or other obstacles. It is important to pay attention to signage and traffic signals to avoid violating these local ordinances.

Be aware of local traffic ordinances

When driving in Los Angeles, it is essential to be aware of the local traffic ordinances and regulations specific to each area. Different cities and neighborhoods may have their own unique rules regarding right turns on red.

Taking the time to familiarize yourself with these local laws will help ensure that you are driving safely and legally.

For more information on local traffic laws and exceptions, you can visit the official website of the City of Los Angeles or the Los Angeles Police Department.

Exercising Good Judgment and Safety

Don’t turn where right on red is unsafe

While right on red is generally permitted in Los Angeles, it is important to exercise good judgment and consider safety first. There are certain situations where turning right on red may be unsafe or prohibited.

For example, if there is a “No Right Turn on Red” sign displayed at an intersection, it is crucial to obey the sign and wait for a green light. Similarly, if there is heavy pedestrian traffic or poor visibility due to weather conditions, it is best to wait for a green light to make your turn.

It’s always better to prioritize safety than to risk an accident or endanger pedestrians.

Come to a complete stop and check for pedestrians

When making a right turn on red, it is essential to come to a complete stop before proceeding. This allows you to assess the situation and ensure there are no oncoming vehicles or pedestrians in your path. Take the time to look left, right, and also check for pedestrians crossing the intersection.

It’s crucial to be patient and give yourself enough time to thoroughly check for any potential hazards. Remember, pedestrians have the right of way, so always yield to them before proceeding with your turn.

Be prepared to wait for an appropriate opportunity

While right on red can be a convenient option for saving time, it’s important to be prepared to wait for an appropriate opportunity. There may be times when it is not safe or practical to make a right turn on red.

For example, during rush hour traffic or when there is a high volume of pedestrians crossing the street, it may be best to wait for a green light to make your turn. By being patient and waiting for the right moment, you can avoid potential accidents and ensure a smooth and safe driving experience.


While right on red can help keep traffic moving in Los Angeles, restrictions and challenging intersections require extra caution and awareness. Always be on the lookout for signage prohibiting turns and approach complex intersections with care when turning right on red. Following the rules and driving defensively will keep you safe and avoid traffic citations.

With a firm understanding of the right on red law and its exceptions in LA, you can navigate turns seamlessly and legally. Just be sure to fully stop, check for pedestrians, and proceed with caution.

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