Right Turn Signal in Pennsylvania – Can You Turn on Red?

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Pennsylvania, the Chocolate Capital of the USA, has a lot to offer. You can start your day at the Reading Market, eat a Philly Cheesesteak, or walk the beautiful grounds of Longwood Gardens. 

When you visit this state, you can be confident that you will return with tonnes of good memories. In addition to all these, another thing has gained the visitors’ attention, troubling them. It is the confusion around the right turn signal by PennDOT. 

Can you turn right at the intersection when the traffic signal still shines a bright red? Legally, you can do so. However, drivers find it difficult to wrap their heads around this concept.

If you are also one of the many confused people, you are at the right place. Keep reading to clear out all the doubts about one of the country’s most puzzling road signs.

The Confusing Part

Imagine you are driving your vehicle on one of the roads in Pennsylvania. You stop at an intersection to take a right turn. However, the traffic light is red, and there is a sign next to the traffic light. It says ‘Right Turn Signal. 

Now, is it legal to take the right turn on the intersection when the signal is still red?

If you said no, you are in the majority. However, that does not mean you are right. The answer is — it is legal to take the right turn in this situation.

The Clarification

There is a sign that reads ‘Right Turn Signal.’ It is present next to a traffic signal. This sign indicates that the traffic signal next to the sign controls right-turn movements. 

These signals are found only at intersections with specified turn lanes and green arrow signals. Contrary to popular reaction, these signals are placed to avoid confusion about signals and which lanes they apply to.

In other words, the sign indicates that the traffic signal on the far right of the traffic arm is for vehicles that have to turn right. Here, you are allowed to take a right when the traffic signal shows a green arrow. Further, yellow means slow down to stop, and red means stop. 

You do not have to wait for the traffic signal to show a green arrow. You may turn when the signal is red when the ‘No Turn On Red’ sign is absent. However, you need to be extra careful since left-turning vehicles may come from the opposite side. 

Green Arrow

A green arrow indicates ‘Go.’ So, when you see the green arrow on the far right traffic signal, you can go to your right. You should yield to any vehicle, bicycle, or pedestrian still in the intersection before moving ahead. 

This sign allows you to make the protected turn, and the oncoming vehicles are stopped by a red light when the green arrow is glowing.

Yellow Arrow

It shows when it is time for the red signal to appear on the right traffic signal. If you are not already at the intersection, you must stop.

You can move forward and take a turn if you are at the intersection.

No Right Turn on Red Sign

If you see this sign, you are prohibited from making turns during the red light cycle. It applies to both the lanes of the road.

Further, it is important to remember that this sign applies to both left and right turns even though it only mentions right. You have to wait until the traffic signal changes to green before taking a turn.

Right-Turn Signal

This sign is placed close to the traffic signal to indicate that it controls the right turns. To take a right turn, you should follow the signal nearest to this sign. This way, you can avoid the confusion between the two signals in front of you.

Note: No matter the traffic signal, it is vital to check for pedestrians and cyclists before moving forward at an intersection.

Red Arrow

Although not common in Pennsylvania, other states use a Red Arrow. This means that you should not turn in the direction of the arrow points.

When the Sign Is Clear

Now that you know you can take a right, you should check for the following:

  • Look ahead and on your right carefully before you start to turn. 
  • Check for any dangers in the passing area, like an oncoming vehicle.
  • Look in the side view and rearview mirrors and make sure no vehicles are overtaking you from the right to move straight.
  • Make sure to inspect your blind spots.
  • Give a proper turn signal.
  • Give this signal early enough for others to know in advance.

Turning Left

If you are in the left lane and face a similar situation, the solution is the same. You can take a left when the signal is red. 

If you are in the left lane and turn left from one one-way street to another, you can turn left. This is allowed unless there’s a sign telling you not to turn. This sign will read something like ‘No Left Turn.’

Should the Signs be Removed?

As confusing as it is, these signs help the city manage the traffic more efficiently. Plus, it helps the drivers navigate the traffic faster.

If you want to take a right turn, you do not have to wait for the entire vehicle to clear up. You can simply stay in the right lane and take a turn when you see the green arrow. This way, you and other drivers will save a lot of time.

Wrapping It Up

The signals at the intersections in Pennsylvania are causing some confusion among drivers. However, you can understand it by paying attention to what the signboard says. When the signal next to the signboard is green, you can take a right if you want to. 

At the same time, ignore the other signal and make the turn. While doing so, you do not have to worry about the cop pulling you over for jumping a red light.

Most importantly, check for and yield to pedestrians, bicycles, and other traffic. This way, you can drive responsibly and ensure safety.

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Author - Willa Carson
Happywayfarer author Willa Carson
Hi, I'm Willa Carson, a passionate traveler who has been exploring the world for 7 years. Whether it's trekking through the Himalayas, exploring ancient ruins in South America, or simply savoring a cup of coffee at a local cafe, I believe that travel has the power to enrich our lives in countless ways. So join me on my journey and let's discover the world together!
Read more about me here.


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