Can You Make a Left Turn on Red in Virginia

Traffic Light Penalties Under § 46.2-836 in Virginia

While driving in Virginia, drivers must adhere to the traffic rules of the State. The § 46.2-836 states that left turns on steady red after stopping are legal. The turns are deemed illegal or wrongful if the driver does not make a complete stop to check other cars and pedestrians. The codes related to turning left on a red light states that:

Notwithstanding the provisions of 46.2-833, except where signs are placed prohibiting turns on steady red, vehicular traffic facing a steady red signal on a one-way highway, after coming to a full stop, may cautiously enter the intersection and make a left turn onto another one-way highway. Such turning traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to other traffic using the intersection”.

Signals by Traffic Lights in Virginia

A steady red signal is a clear indication that all moving traffic has to stop and remain stopped until the time allotted for the red signal is complete. The traffic remains stationary except in the direction indicated by a steady green arrow. The green light means that the traffic has to move in the direction of the signal and the traffic must continue as long as the green signal is visible.

As a driver, it is necessary for you to determine that a change in the traffic light is about to take place. While moving through an intersection, make sure that the traffic has not already entered the intersection. This includes watching out for the crosswalks.

The driver is expected to continue on driving if they feel that stopping would be risky. However, the traffic already on the intersection must continue on it until the entire intersection is cleared. When you see a flashing red light, it indicates that the traffic shall stop before entering an intersection. Such traffic allows the right-of-way to pedestrians and other cars lawfully while staying at the intersection.

Other Provisions of § 46.2-833

Nevertheless, other provision of law, if a motorist, bike rider or a moped approaches an intersection controlled by a traffic light. In such a scenario the motorist or the bicycle, moped or bike rider is allowed to proceed through the intersection while the red light is steady only when:

  • The rider comes to a full and complete stop at the intersection for two comprehensive rotations of the traffic light or for two minutes, whichever is shorter
  • Exercises due care as delivered by law
  • Then gives the traffic control device as a stop sign
  • Governs that it is safe to proceed
  • Yields the right of way to the driver of any vehicle impending on such other highway from either direction.

What Could Get You Arrested?

It is possible for a driver of any vehicle to be detained or arrested by a law enforcement officer in a uniform for repeated violation or for any violation mentioned below:

  • The officer has observed the violation
  • The officer was informed of the breach on radio or another wireless device