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Author Topic: Right Turn Signal  (Read 2283 times)

tckma

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Right Turn Signal
« on: July 19, 2018, 08:32:42 AM »

Help me settle a minor marital dispute.

Does a posted "RIGHT TURN SIGNAL" sign next to a traffic light IMPLY "NO TURN ON RED"?

I think it does not.  My wife thinks it does.  I only found out about this difference of opinion when I got a long lecture for making a right turn on red at a "RIGHT TURN SIGNAL" when she was a passenger in my car.

I thought my point was proven a few days later when I was again driving with her as a passenger and we came to a "RIGHT TURN SIGNAL" that also had a "NO TURN ON RED" sign posted.  So, "RIGHT TURN SIGNAL" does not imply "NO TURN ON RED." QED.

She still disagrees with me, though.

Any DOT employees, experts on the MUTCD, or others want to chime in on this?

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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2018, 08:43:57 AM »

Was it one of those with the green arrows when left turns are being made on the cross street? If so, that green arrow is the only time you can turn right during the red. I have a similar setup at 95th Street and Ridgeland in my hometown. It's No Turn On Red but has a green arrow to allow right turns off 95th when Ridgeland is making left turns.
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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2018, 08:49:54 AM »

It depends on state law.  And the way the laws are written, it can be quite confusing.

It appears in Maryland that you can make the turn, regardless if the signal is a full circular signal or an arrow.  At first in section (h)(2), it appears you can't turn if the signal is an arrow, but it says "Except as provided in subsections (i)...", which goes on to say unless a sign is in place, you can make the turn.

Here's the law, per their state website: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmStatutesText.aspx?article=gtr&section=21-202&ext=html&session=2017RS&tab=subject5

Quote
(h)    (1)   Vehicular traffic facing a steady circular red signal alone:

(i)   Shall stop at the near side of the intersection:
1.   At a clearly marked stop line;
2.   If there is no clearly marked stop line, before entering any crosswalk; or
3.   If there is no crosswalk, before entering the intersection; and

(ii)   Except as provided in subsections (i), (j), and (k) of this section, shall remain stopped until a signal to proceed is shown.
(2)   Vehicular traffic facing a steady red arrow signal:
(i)   May not enter the intersection to make the movement indicated by the arrow;
(ii)   Unless entering the intersection to make a movement permitted by another signal, shall stop at the near side of the intersection:
1.   At a clearly marked stop line;
2.   If there is no clearly marked stop line, before entering any crosswalk; or
3.   If there is no crosswalk, before entering the intersection; and

(iii)   Except as provided in subsections (i), (j), and (k) of this section, shall remain stopped until a signal permitting the movement is shown.
(i)   Unless a sign prohibiting a turn is in place, vehicular traffic facing a steady red signal, after stopping as required by subsection (h) of this section, cautiously may enter the intersection and make:
(1)   A right turn; or
(2)   A left turn from a one-way street onto a one-way street.

So, your assessment is correct, especially as that second example shows the 'No Turn On Red' sign.
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traffic light guy

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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2018, 11:48:41 AM »

You can turn on red as long as one of the arrows are lit simultaneously with the red.
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Brandon

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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2018, 12:18:42 PM »

In Illinois it requires a “No Turn On Red” sign.  Otherwise, you can turn right on red.
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tckma

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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2018, 01:11:27 PM »

It depends on state law.  And the way the laws are written, it can be quite confusing.

It appears in Maryland that you can make the turn, regardless if the signal is a full circular signal or an arrow.  At first in section (h)(2), it appears you can't turn if the signal is an arrow, but it says "Except as provided in subsections (i)...", which goes on to say unless a sign is in place, you can make the turn.

This was in Pennsylvania, but I'm going to assume the law is similar if not exactly the same.

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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2018, 03:20:45 PM »

In Illinois it requires a “No Turn On Red” sign.  Otherwise, you can turn right on red.
Same in Massachusetts.  RTOR is permitted on a red signal indication (i.e. either ball or arrow) unless there's a sign indicating No Turn on Red.
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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2018, 03:39:35 PM »

There was a rather lengthy thread on "right on red arrows" if anyone is interested. I think most states have the same law for left on red arrows, so long as it's on to a one way street (from a two way as well, in MI, WA, OR, ID, and BC)

It's basically a 50/50 split, those against movements on red arrows, versus those for it.

https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=18048.msg2148098#msg2148098
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Revive 755

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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2018, 10:05:28 PM »

It depends on state law.  And the way the laws are written, it can be quite confusing.

I concur.  Based on the MUTCD (Section 4D.05 Paragraph 11; Section 4D.21 Paragraph 09, and probably a couple more places in the section on right turn signals), it would appear the primary intent of the RIGHT TURN SIGNAL sign is for cases where through traffic may have a circular green or green ahead arrow while the right turn has a circular red which is visible to through traffic.

I remember hearing this was such an issue in Missouri MoDOT looked into alternative signs.  I think they have finally decided to use "RIGHT ON RED AFTER STOP" (example) in some places.
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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2018, 11:01:36 AM »

I concur.  Based on the MUTCD (Section 4D.05 Paragraph 11; Section 4D.21 Paragraph 09, and probably a couple more places in the section on right turn signals), it would appear the primary intent of the RIGHT TURN SIGNAL sign is for cases where through traffic may have a circular green or green ahead arrow while the right turn has a circular red which is visible to through traffic.

I remember hearing this was such an issue in Missouri MoDOT looked into alternative signs.  I think they have finally decided to use "RIGHT ON RED AFTER STOP" (example) in some places.

To me, you couldn't use a "RIGHT TURN SIGNAL" sign to outlaw something like a right turn on red which is otherwise permissible by law, as the sign legend is not descriptive enough to even imply that a right turn would not be allowed on a red indication. That's why the "NO TURN ON RED" sign exists—which presents a clear indication that the maneuver is not allowed.


The "RIGHT ON RED AFTER STOP" example presents a different challenge. There is an MUTCD sign developed for similar situations, but its text is "RIGHT ON RED ARROW AFTER STOP" and is meant to be used with red arrows.

To me, even in a dedicated right turn lane, if the signal shows a circular red then it is okay to make a right turn on red—a sign shouldn't be needed... But with a red arrow, that is more ambiguous (and practice/law varies by state), so you'd either need "NO TURN ON RED" or "RIGHT TURN ON RED ARROW AFTER STOP" to clarify.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2018, 12:05:29 PM »

It depends on state law.  And the way the laws are written, it can be quite confusing.

It appears in Maryland that you can make the turn, regardless if the signal is a full circular signal or an arrow.  At first in section (h)(2), it appears you can't turn if the signal is an arrow, but it says "Except as provided in subsections (i)...", which goes on to say unless a sign is in place, you can make the turn.

This was in Pennsylvania, but I'm going to assume the law is similar if not exactly the same.

PA law is actually a bit simpler to understand.  Basically, if there isn't a sign saying "No Turn on Red", you can turn.

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/PDF/75/75.PDF (PDF Page 302)

Quote
(3) Steady red indication.--

(i) Vehicular traffic facing a steady red signal alone shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, or if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if none, then before entering the intersection and shall remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown except as provided in subparagraph (ii).
(ii) Unless signing is in place prohibiting a turn, vehicular traffic facing a steady red signal may enter the intersection to turn right, or to turn left from a one-way highway onto a one-way highway after stopping as required by subparagraph (i).

Note: When I look up laws like this, I generally type in: (State) "State Statute" (Keywords). In this case, I typed "PA state statute turn on red".  Then, I look for the OFFICIAL state website regarding it, although the law.justia.com appears to be up to date and uses the actual language as well.  Stay away from newspaper websites, because they're just plain horrible and lawyer websites, because honestly, they're not always accurate, especially if they're licensed in several states where laws may slightly differ.  And a lot of times, I think they just pull info they found from elsewhere, which may not have been accurate as well.  In one example I've come across for NJ, a lot of sites say that you can't turn right on a red arrow.  Yet when you review the law, the law only has 4 things for traffic lights: Red, yellow, green, and green arrow.  There is nothing in regards to a red arrow.  So how these websites come to the conclusion that you can't turn right on a red arrow in NJ...who knows.  That's also why NJ almost always will post a "No Turn On Red" sign with a red arrow...because that sign makes the turn illegal, not the red arrow.
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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2018, 04:34:39 PM »

Note: When I look up laws like this, I generally type in: (State) "State Statute" (Keywords). In this case, I typed "PA state statute turn on red".  Then, I look for the OFFICIAL state website regarding it, although the law.justia.com appears to be up to date and uses the actual language as well.  Stay away from newspaper websites, because they're just plain horrible and lawyer websites, because honestly, they're not always accurate, especially if they're licensed in several states where laws may slightly differ.  And a lot of times, I think they just pull info they found from elsewhere, which may not have been accurate as well.  In one example I've come across for NJ, a lot of sites say that you can't turn right on a red arrow.  Yet when you review the law, the law only has 4 things for traffic lights: Red, yellow, green, and green arrow.  There is nothing in regards to a red arrow.  So how these websites come to the conclusion that you can't turn right on a red arrow in NJ...who knows.  That's also why NJ almost always will post a "No Turn On Red" sign with a red arrow...because that sign makes the turn illegal, not the red arrow.

You just showed how looking up the state laws isn't enough, because they don't usually deal with it.  The NJ folks may not be right, but that doesn't mean they're wrong either.
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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2018, 04:51:46 PM »

Note: When I look up laws like this, I generally type in: (State) "State Statute" (Keywords). In this case, I typed "PA state statute turn on red".  Then, I look for the OFFICIAL state website regarding it, although the law.justia.com appears to be up to date and uses the actual language as well.  Stay away from newspaper websites, because they're just plain horrible and lawyer websites, because honestly, they're not always accurate, especially if they're licensed in several states where laws may slightly differ.  And a lot of times, I think they just pull info they found from elsewhere, which may not have been accurate as well.  In one example I've come across for NJ, a lot of sites say that you can't turn right on a red arrow.  Yet when you review the law, the law only has 4 things for traffic lights: Red, yellow, green, and green arrow.  There is nothing in regards to a red arrow.  So how these websites come to the conclusion that you can't turn right on a red arrow in NJ...who knows.  That's also why NJ almost always will post a "No Turn On Red" sign with a red arrow...because that sign makes the turn illegal, not the red arrow.

You just showed how looking up the state laws isn't enough, because they don't usually deal with it.  The NJ folks may not be right, but that doesn't mean they're wrong either.

The law is the bottom line. No one else can decide the meaning of traffic lights. If state statutes don't address anything more than a red indication, then legally, a red arrow and a red orb are the same thing, and can be treated the same as well. Some statutes, like here in WA, address red arrows, but still mention that turning on a red arrow is allowed after a stop (RCW 6.61.060 ~3-C).

Remember: everything is legal, unless the law specifically says it isn't.
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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2018, 05:33:21 PM »

It depends on state law.  And the way the laws are written, it can be quite confusing.

It appears in Maryland that you can make the turn, regardless if the signal is a full circular signal or an arrow.  At first in section (h)(2), it appears you can't turn if the signal is an arrow, but it says "Except as provided in subsections (i)...", which goes on to say unless a sign is in place, you can make the turn.

This was in Pennsylvania, but I'm going to assume the law is similar if not exactly the same.

Pennsylvania doesn't help make the situation any clearer as the state's practice is to post a "Right Turn Signal" sign next to all signals (doghouse and otherwise) that have a protected right turn phase, the only state I've ever seen do that. Other states, like Virginia, place a right turn lane use sign next to the signal instead, if any clarifying signage is placed next to the signal.
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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2018, 06:03:51 PM »

Cincinnati's typical MO has been to post both a "right turn signal" and either a "no turn on red" or "right on arrow only" sign flanking the signal head.  The same goes for protected-only left turns as well.  This is because Ohio was a latecomer to red arrows of any sort, so these are signals with red balls.  That's all good.

https://goo.gl/maps/6BAzdxqC4mM2
https://goo.gl/maps/P8K22dDh29s

However, now that red arrows have become permitted, they've done some installs with no signage at all.

https://goo.gl/maps/JjypsmrTrJB2

Since Ohio does NOT allow right turns on a red arrow, it make sense to have no signage.  Usually you'd see something like "no turn on red except curb lane" but not in a case like this with red arrows.  That said, what I've witnessed is that most people don't realize there's a difference between a red ball and a red arrow (there's no difference for a protected-only left after all), so people still treat the red right arrow like a red ball and make turns on red.  I think some clarification signage would be prudent.  It's also not well documented in the traffic laws.  You really have to dig for the exact language. 

On a side note, Cincinnati has also recently installed some red up arrows and up/angled red arrows on skewed intersections.  Is that kosher? 

https://goo.gl/maps/6igVdcAZ3t12 (make sure you're viewing July 2014)
https://goo.gl/maps/6MQL2EY1nWE2 (July 2015)
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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2018, 06:45:39 PM »

On a side note, Cincinnati has also recently installed some red up arrows and up/angled red arrows on skewed intersections.  Is that kosher? 

https://goo.gl/maps/6igVdcAZ3t12 (make sure you're viewing July 2014)
https://goo.gl/maps/6MQL2EY1nWE2 (July 2015)

No, that's not allowed. That hasn't stopped local agencies around me from installing them, though. Quite a few new installations as well, at least a few from Washington State. Of course, here, arrows are more often used as lane use signals (red arrows and red orbs have the same legal definition here), so it's not totally unprecedented to see them, nor do I have a problem with them.
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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2018, 03:24:09 PM »

On a side note, Cincinnati has also recently installed some red up arrows and up/angled red arrows on skewed intersections.  Is that kosher? 

https://goo.gl/maps/6igVdcAZ3t12 (make sure you're viewing July 2014)
https://goo.gl/maps/6MQL2EY1nWE2 (July 2015)

No, that's not allowed. That hasn't stopped local agencies around me from installing them, though. Quite a few new installations as well, at least a few from Washington State. Of course, here, arrows are more often used as lane use signals (red arrows and red orbs have the same legal definition here), so it's not totally unprecedented to see them, nor do I have a problem with them.

Yeah, the straight up arrow is specifically prohibited in the MUTCD. I'm not sure why though. I wouldn't use it everywhere, but there are certain applications where it makes sense (complex geometries, DDI crossovers, etc.).
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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2018, 03:30:39 PM »

My guess would be visibility.  Red arrows of any sort seem to have only come into common use after the introduction of LED signals, which are brighter than their incandescent forbearers.  It's one thing to use them for "auxiliary" movements like turns, but for the main signals I can see them still being of questionable visibility for the most important signal aspect. 

Thinking about the two Cincinnati examples a little more, I can see some rationale for it.  Namely, there's one-way streets involved.  The first example, Main Street, is a one-way intersecting another one-way.  Ohio does allow left turns on red from a one-way to another one-way.  The red arrow is another way of signaling "no turns" because you'd be turning the wrong way down a one-way street.  The second example on Spring Grove Avenue is similar in that a right turn on red would send you the wrong way down a one-way street.  I think the "no turns" sign is probably a better way to go in this instance however.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2018, 03:35:40 PM by jjakucyk »
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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2018, 04:06:33 PM »

On a side note, Cincinnati has also recently installed some red up arrows and up/angled red arrows on skewed intersections.  Is that kosher? 

https://goo.gl/maps/6igVdcAZ3t12 (make sure you're viewing July 2014)
https://goo.gl/maps/6MQL2EY1nWE2 (July 2015)

No, that's not allowed. That hasn't stopped local agencies around me from installing them, though. Quite a few new installations as well, at least a few from Washington State. Of course, here, arrows are more often used as lane use signals (red arrows and red orbs have the same legal definition here), so it's not totally unprecedented to see them, nor do I have a problem with them.

Yeah, the straight up arrow is specifically prohibited in the MUTCD. I'm not sure why though. I wouldn't use it everywhere, but there are certain applications where it makes sense (complex geometries, DDI crossovers, etc.).

Actually, a DDI was the most recent installation I saw. The 515/Horizon Drive DDI in Henderson: https://goo.gl/YcbjQJ

(OT: weird absence of secondary signals for the cross-back maneuver -- totally out of character for Nevada. Even Oregon has more, and they never use secondary signals).

The oldest red up arrow I know of is at this intersection in Tacoma. As you can guess by the tiny lane-use signs below each signal, the up arrow was there to clarify the unusual lane layout, and also to discourage traffic from turning right from that lane (making a double right of sorts), though I still see it anyway. Judging by its shape (paint wearing quite a bit) and the type of signal being used (an older manufacturer), this one has been around for quite some time (at least ten years, according to street view, and probably much longer than that based on previous factors).

Another in WA, along the new one-way system in Centralia over I-5 (almost impossible to make out on Street View, to be honest): https://goo.gl/nGswmg

My guess would be visibility.  Red arrows of any sort seem to have only come into common use after the introduction of LED signals, which are brighter than their incandescent forbearers.  It's one thing to use them for "auxiliary" movements like turns, but for the main signals I can see them still being of questionable visibility for the most important signal aspect.

I don't disagree. Arrows definitely have less light output than orbs, so it would be essential that, when up arrows were used, that extra signals were used, beyond the ordinary overhead signals.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2018, 04:13:59 PM by jakeroot »
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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2018, 04:33:03 PM »

My guess would be visibility.  Red arrows of any sort seem to have only come into common use after the introduction of LED signals, which are brighter than their incandescent forbearers.  It's one thing to use them for "auxiliary" movements like turns, but for the main signals I can see them still being of questionable visibility for the most important signal aspect. 

Perhaps red arrows are more recent where you are. In Nevada, red arrows have been in widespread use as long as I can remember (I'm 35 years old), and well before the introduction of LED signals.

Yeah, the straight up arrow is specifically prohibited in the MUTCD. I'm not sure why though. I wouldn't use it everywhere, but there are certain applications where it makes sense (complex geometries, DDI crossovers, etc.).

Actually, a DDI was the most recent installation I saw. The 515/Horizon Drive DDI in Henderson: https://goo.gl/YcbjQJ

(OT: weird absence of secondary signals for the cross-back maneuver -- totally out of character for Nevada. Even Oregon has more, and they never use secondary signals).

Continuing on our tangent...

Interestingly enough, one of two other installations I know of with up red arrows is also a DDI: The I-580/US 395 interchange at Moana Lane in Reno

The other is the intersection of Victorian Ave & 15th St in Sparks, where there is an all up arrow signal head in both directions on Victorian possibly to reinforce no turns into the RTC Centennial Plaza bus circulating area. (I couldn't get a good image of the red arrows on Street View.)
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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2018, 04:46:18 PM »

The other is the intersection of Victorian Ave & 15th St in Sparks, where there is an all up arrow signal head in both directions on Victorian possibly to reinforce no turns into the RTC Centennial Plaza bus circulating area. (I couldn't get a good image of the red arrows on Street View.)

Pretty good shot of the westbound arrow here: https://goo.gl/DSuufV

Other direction was all orbs as of 2016: https://goo.gl/huqSxu

I think these are particularly important in states with liberal turn-on-red laws (such as WA or OR), as the red up arrows further re-enforce, even during the stopped phase, which movements are eventually permissible.
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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2018, 04:54:12 PM »

My guess would be visibility.  Red arrows of any sort seem to have only come into common use after the introduction of LED signals, which are brighter than their incandescent forbearers.  It's one thing to use them for "auxiliary" movements like turns, but for the main signals I can see them still being of questionable visibility for the most important signal aspect. 

Perhaps red arrows are more recent where you are. In Nevada, red arrows have been in widespread use as long as I can remember (I'm 35 years old), and well before the introduction of LED signals.

Maybe so, and I did say common use.  Red arrows have been much more rare in eastern states until pretty recently.  Ohio for example only started using red arrows in 2012.  I can't recall if it was for Ohio or another state, but I had heard that in many jurisdictions (maybe even county or municipal) until the introduction of LED fixtures, that a red arrow didn't meet the respective DOT's required lumen output for individual signal heads.  And that's with a fresh bulb, clean reflector, and a clean non-burned lens. 

That's one of the lesser known benefits of LEDs, no more burned up plastic lenses.
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US 89

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Re: Right Turn Signal
« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2018, 07:35:28 PM »

Hmm. This is on 12600 South and the Mountain View Corridor in South Jordan, UT:

« Last Edit: August 12, 2018, 09:40:50 AM by US 89 »
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