Can You Turn Right on Red in Virginia? (And Other Rules of the Road)

Can You Turn Right on Red in Virginia? (And Other Rules of the Road)According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), yes, you can legally turn right when a traffic light is red as long as there are no signs prohibiting it. However, before you can make a right turn on red, you must completely stop and ensure that there are no pedestrians or vehicles approaching. You should also double-check in case there is a motorcycle or bicycle, which are smaller and more difficult to see. If there is a clear sign that reads, “No Turn on Red,” you cannot turn right on red.

Regardless of if you are a new driver with only a couple years of experience or a long-time driver with several decades of experience, it is normal to forget specific rules and laws while driving. It is also easy to make a habit out of doing the wrong thing behind the wheel. So today, in an effort to help keep our community safe, we want to refresh your memory about some important rules of the road, in the hopes that it will help you avoid a car accident later on.

What do I do if there is a flashing red light at the train tracks but no train?

When you approach train tracks, you may notice a flashing red light, which has been installed to inform you when a train is on its way. Sometimes this light will flash several minutes before a train is ever visible. While you may think that you can hurry and clear the tracks before the train arrives, it is against the law to do so. Instead, you should remain patient and come to a complete stop even if there is no train in sight.

Are you ever allowed to pass a stopped school bus?

Virginia Code § 46.2-859 explains that it is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped:

  • A driver is required to stop when a school bus is stopped on any type of road or driveway to allow children to safely enter or exit the bus.
  • As a driver, you are legally required to remain in a stopping position until all the children have crossed the roads to where they need to go and the bus is no longer flashing its lights, has its stop sign extended, and is back moving again.

You can continue driving and pass the school bus only if you are driving on a different roadway in the opposite direction with some type of unpaved section or barrier in between you and the school bus. You can also pass a school bus if you are driving by a school where the bus is either dropping off or picking up students and a crossing guard or police officer directs you to pass or go around. In both of these scenarios, you must proceed with caution as you never know which direction the children may go.

Am I legally required to stop at a crosswalk in Richmond?

Virginia Code § 46.2-924 states that all drivers must slow down and stop “to permit pedestrians to cross such intersections safely and expeditiously.” Therefore, even if there are no traffic lights, it is your legal responsibility to stop at the crosswalk and wait for a pedestrian to cross before proceeding.

However, the law also says “No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic.” In other words, when drivers have a green light, then pedestrians are supposed to wait their turn before crossing. However, it is still your job, as a driver, to slow down (or even stop) to allow pedestrians to pass.

Am I required to obey flaggers, crossing guards, and other individuals directing traffic?

According to Virginia Code § 46.2-834, you are legally required to obey all flaggers, crossing guards, or other professionals directing traffic. This means that if you see a traffic guard holding up a stop sign, you cannot dismiss or ignore them and continue to drive right past them. There is likely a reason for why they are asking you to stop, such as a construction zone, a car accident, passing children, or an emergency situation.

Do I always have to use my turn signal when making a turn?

You do always have to use a turn signal when making a turn. The Virginia DMV points out that failing to use a turn signal when turning is not only illegal, but it also places other drivers around you at risk of an accident.

If you have been injured in a car accident due to another’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Failing to follow the rules of the road can be proof of that negligence. The Richmond-based car accident attorneys at Phelan Petty Injury Lawyers have many years of experience helping victims of car accidents stand up and fight for their rights. Therefore, if you need an attorney who knows the ins and outs of the legal process, please call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your free consultation today. We are dedicated to helping all clients throughout Virginia.