Can You Turn Right on a Red Light in Texas?

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Laws governing motorists can be confusing. Some actions might be legal in one state but illegal in the other. In this light, the laws on red lights can be equally confusing. Can you turn right at a red light in Texas?

In Texas, like many other states, turning right at a red light is considered legal in most cases. However, anyone who knows traffic laws will tell you that these laws are never absolute. There are some special cases when turning red on a stop sign or a red light is prohibited.

Red light in Austin Texas

When Can You Turn Right on a Red Light?

A stop sign and a red light are synonymous with the message they convey. For both, you have to bring your vehicle to a stop. Even in states where it is legal to turn right on a stop sign, like in Texas, it is mandatory that you first come to a stop. When you are sure you are not endangering the life of another road user, you are free to go.

Laws relating to red lights rarely contradict standard laws; therefore, understanding the standard Texas legalities is paramount in fully grasping the laws that apply specifically to red lights. 

In New York, for example, it is illegal to turn right at a red light. If you are worried about whether there might be other laws you are unfamiliar with, then read on and fill in the gaps on red light legislation all over the country.

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The Texas legal regulation on road safety aims to ensure all road users’ safety. For this reason, every individual must complete a driving test before they are licensed to drive on any road, not only in Texas but all over the country and the world at large.

There are fundamental laws that every motorist is familiar with, and with them in mind, it is easy to stay on the right side of the law, guaranteeing yourself safe from legal action and accidents.  

Is There an Instance When You Cannot Turn Right on a Red Light?

Like everything else on the road, safety is always the primary objective of traffic laws. It is easy to imagine how turning a corner can be dangerous. Corners are natural blind spots as the human eye has no periscope because we cannot see through them.

The following reasons are instances in which you may not turn right at a red light:

If You Did Not Stop First

It is no brainer why we must slow down or stop when approaching a turn, whether or not there is a red light to tell us to do so. When we run a red light at a corner without stopping, we not only increase the risk of getting involved in a fatal accident but also put other road users’ lives at risk.

If There is a Crosswalk at the End of the Road

Crosswalks are usually placed across the road to help pedestrians access the other side. Where there is a crossroad, there is typically a traffic light that protects pedestrians from harm by oncoming traffic. Turning right would be illegal if you come across a crosswalk and the traffic light is flashing red.

It is illegal because this simple action puts the lives of pedestrians at risk. You must stop and wait for the light to turn green, even if there are no pedestrians around. 

If There is a Marked Limit Line

A marked limit line is an easy-to-spot indicator that you need to come to a stop. In the presence of this road marker, motorists may be limited from making a right turn after approaching a red light, but this scenario is relative in most geographical locations. It may be argued out in court and ruled in favor of the offender when you get a ticket.

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April 2015 Streets of Amarillo Texas City Skyline at Night
April 2015 Streets of Amarillo Texas City Skyline at Night

Implications of Ignoring a Red-Light Ticket

You might unknowingly find yourself on the wrong side of the law after violating traffic-light regulations. The implications range from a warning to serious jail time depending on the circumstances under which the offense occurred.

When you receive a ticket for violating a red light, you are subject to paying a small fine that ranges from $100-$300. Failure to comply might lead to a driver’s arrest. To avoid arrest, drivers may pay off the fine beforehand, commit to paying the fine over a stipulated period or offer community services.

Unpaid tickets may also prevent you from renewing your driver’s license once it expires, as you will have to clear the debt owed in terms of fines to the government before you become a bona fide driver.

When traffic light violations lead to an innocent road user’s death, you may be charged with manslaughter or an equivalent charge.

Traffic Light In Texas FAQ

Here are some questions others had about traffic laws in Texas. 

Can you turn left at a red light in Texas?

Turning on a red light might sometimes be to the right or to the left depending on the direction you wish to take.

There are many factors to consider before deciding to turn left at a red light. If you are on a one-way street and are about to enter another one-way street, then turning left is possible. In many other circumstances, turning left is also possible. For the best guidance, seek directions from the local DMV.

Can you make a right or left turn on a yellow light in Texas?

In Texas, red light and yellow light do not have that much of a difference. For both, you must bring your vehicle to a complete stop to enable you to survey your environment. If you deem it safe, it is legal to make a right turn or a left turn depending on the direction you desire to travel.

However, caution should always be exercised. Motorists need to be aware of their environment at all times whenever they are using the road.


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Christian Linden Texas View Headshot 3 - Texas View
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Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.

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