Sitting tight at double red arrow lights

The in basket: A fellow named Pete says, “This question concerns the off ramp intersection from Highway 3 northbound to Highway 305 in Poulsbo.

“At the end of the ramp, there are two right-turn lanes that are controlled by traffic lights.  The lights have right turn arrows in red, yellow and green.

“I have been taught that the red arrow to the right indicates that you are NOT allowed to make a right turn on red after stopping.  I’ve seen countless people make a right on red in BOTH of the right turn lanes that are controlled by those lights, even troopers and other police officers.

“What is the correct answer?  I’ve had other drivers honk at me because I wait for a green arrow. Does the red right-turn arrow mean NO turn on red or not?

The out basket: Turning right on a red light is permitted from either of those lanes, provided you come to a complete stop first and yield to any vehicles with a green light. It’s the same as on the Kitsap Mall Boulevard off-ramp on northbound Highway 3 and on 11th Street at Kitsap Way in Bremerton.

I told Pete I’d honk at him too if I was behind him if he just sat there at the red arrow light when it is safe and legal to make the turn.

7 thoughts on “Sitting tight at double red arrow lights

  1. What about turning LEFT on red onto a one-way street? I do it all the time (after making a complete stop and there is no oncoming traffic), but I have NEVER seen anybody else do it. There are two such places that I know of in Silverdale (both one-way streets are freeway entrance ramps).

  2. I pass thru this intersection several times a week and have wondered the same thing. I was taught that a red arrow means NO TURN, regardless of whether you come to a complete stop or not. No turning until you get a green.
    And am I wrong, or isn’t the signal to the Kitsap Mall off-ramp northbound a solid light rather than an arrow, which does allow a turn after a complete stop? I use this exit all the time.

  3. I thought it was up to each driver to decide whether it is safe to make a right turn on a red light (or arrow.) What you are saying is that anyone behind the driver who thinks they can judge that safety can honk and thereby indicate that the driver should go ahead and turn.

    If I am in the outside lane and a large vehicle is in the inside lane, I will not be able to see around it in order to determine whether it is safe to proceed. Even if no large vehicle blocks my view, it may be raining, it may be dusk, there may be a road-colored car approaching without its lights on – there are a lot of reasons I should choose not to proceed.

    Should we all just acknowledge that friendly honk by proceeding? I don’t think so.

    1. It’s actually illegal to use your horn if it isn’t an emergency situation, and is against the law.
      But yes, you are supposed to take the free right when possible, so you don’t impede the flow of traffic.
      If you are taking a driving test, they will dock you points for not taking the free right on red

  4. The arrows on traffic signals simply indicate which movement is allowed from that lane. The red arrow lets you know you are in a turn only lane, but is otherwise no different from a red circle. The traffic manual is suitably confusing on this point, implying that red arrows are different before clarifying that they are not.

    And, yeah, honking is just rude. Let the driver in front make their own decision. I’ve been in plenty of situations where I started to get annoyed only to discover when traffic finally started moving that there was an accident or other unexpected event causing the delay.

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