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Red light ahead, right turn lane with a yield sign ?

Chelmsford, MA |


Imagine an intersection with the traffic light in the front and there is a dedicated right turn lane with an yield sign, my question is ,

a) If the traffic light is red, the car on the right turn lane with the yield sign, should it completely stop and then turn right when safe ? or slowly drive by if it is safe to do so ?

I understand if it is red light and there is no yield sign, then the car at the right lane MUST stop, my confusion is what if there is a yield sign and it is safe to turn right without stoppin ?


Attorney Answers 1


If this actually happened to you and is not a purely hypothetical question, and you got a ticket (and you want to fight the ticket), I'd suggest contacting a defense attorney to advocate on your behalf. I just scanned the RMV's Driver's Manual and I don't think it answers this question. However, there is certainly a case to be made that the maneuver you describe is perfectly acceptable. Particularly in light of this description of what to do when facing a yield sign:

"When you see a YIELD sign, slow down and be prepared to stop. Let vehicles, bicyclists,
and pedestrians go before you proceed. You must come to a complete stop if traffic
conditions require it." (page 86, RMV Driver's Manual -- linked below).

Whether the yield sign or the red light takes priority I think depends also on the actual design of the intersection. Is it a simple cross or is there a "ramp" of sorts which gently turns from one road to the other, with the yield sign at the end of that turn? It's an interesting question, but I think what you did (assuming this question is not purely hypothetical) is fine.

Douglas Lloyd is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Answers provided on Avvo are intended for informational purposes only; they are not intended as legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship. The material is presented with the understanding and agreement that I am not engaged in rendering legal or other professional services by posting it.

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Hi Douglas, Thank you for your response. It was a hypothetical question, It came up when I was talking to somebody. I see many right turn lanes with a yield sign and a traffic light ahead, I slow down, and turn right only if it is safe. If no yield sign I stop and then turn. However there seem to be some who have never seen a right turn lane with a yield sign and argue must stop in a red light for right turn with or without yield sign. I am surprised.

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