Right Turn on Red vs. U-Turn – Who has the Right of Way?
I continue to notice a problem in St. Petersburg that concerns me. At fully controlled intersections, that is to say, that all directions of traffic are controlled by traffic signals, I see many near misses between a driver executing a legal u-turn on the green light and a driver attempting to turn right on red.
In this situation, who has the right of way?
U-turn on Green and Right Turn on Red, Who Has the Right of Way?
My driving experience in St. Petersburg says that most people believe that the person turning right on red has the right of way. Nothing could be further from the truth.
According to Florida Statute 316.075 vehicles may execute a u-turn on a green signal as long as there is no signage prohibiting a u-turn at the intersection. The driver executing the u-turn must yield the right of way to pedestrians and other vehicles which are lawfully in the intersection.
Likewise, Florida Statute 316.075 permits a driver to make a right turn on red if it can be safely accomplished. Essentially, a driver attempting to execute a right turn on red must yield to everyone else lawfully within the intersection.
Therefore, screaming, honking, and obscene gestures aside, the driver executing a lawful u-turn has the right of way.
The Driver Making a Right on Red Has a Duty to Make Sure the Intersection is Clear
There are numerous derivations of the same situation. If there is no signal or sign for the driver making the u-turn, but a stop sign facing the driver attempting to make a right turn, the driver making a legal u-turn still has the right of way.
As a general rule, the driver attempting to execute a right turn on red will be at fault for accidents that occur at the intersection involving the right-on-red driver. The driver attempting to execute a right on red has a duty to make sure that the intersection is free of pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, and other cars lawfully in the intersection.
I know people will complain because it is impossible to discern whether cars in the left turn lane will execute a u-turn or simply make a left turn. It is a good practice when turning right on red to check the traffic approaching from the left, both crosswalks, and the left-hand turn lane so that you are certain it is safe to proceed with the right turn.
Right on Red Can Causes Serious Accidents and Injuries
The results of an inattentive driver turning right on red can be devastating. The only logical excuse for accidents caused in this manner is driver impatience. The best result of such an accident is usually a collision with a car making a u-turn.
Car accidents with other cars or motorcycles approaching the intersection at full speed can have fatal consequences when the driver executing a right on red failed to do so properly.
Collisions with bicycle riders or pedestrians lawfully in the crosswalk will also cause significant and serious injuries to the riders and pedestrians.
Unfortunately, the results of this type of car accident can be devastating and include:
- Traumatic brain injury and/or concussions;
- Spinal cord damage and/or paralysis;
- Fractured or broken bones; and
- Neck and back injuries.
Contact an Experienced St Petersburg Accident and Injury Lawyer
Have you been involved in an accident caused by a driver attempting to turn right on red failed to properly yield the right of way? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today. The decision to hire an experienced personal injury attorney is an extremely important one. It should be a personal decision based upon research and a comfort level with your attorney that is only reached after a face-to-face meeting with the attorney that will be handling your case. Experience the personalized service that you will receive at Jones Law Group.
Whether you were operating a car or motorcycle, or you were a pedestrian or bicyclist, and have been injured in an accident, you should immediately call Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.
Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707