The One Time Making A Left On Red Is Legal In New York
When we are driving downtown, we just take going "right on red" for granted. A lot of today's drivers don't even know there was a time when that wasn't a "right-turn-on-red" law of the land. Do you remember when you weren't allowed to take a "right on red?"
I remember that I was a teenager when it became law but I wasn't driving (legally) yet. Do you remember why? It all began in 1973 when the USA freaked out with the Arab oil embargo.
It caused the "Energy Crisis" and measures were taken by our government to save energy. It included a ban on outdoor Christmas lights and a national 55 mph speed limit.
What Year Did The Right-Turn-On-Red Law Go Into Effect?
In 1977, our government mandated that every state had to allow drivers to make a right (after coming to a stop) at a red traffic light. We don't think much of it now but I remember that people kind of freaked out because red meant to stop and now they could go. Sometimes they went straight and that is a no-go no-no.
When Is Left On Red In New York Legal?
So what about turning left at the red light in New York? Believe it or not, you are allowed to turn left but only under one condition. You can take a left-hand turn (at a steady red light) when you go from a one-way road onto another one-way road.
Why We Don't Know That Left On Red Is Legal in New York
You really don't hear too much about it and I have the feeling that I know why.
One, there isn't the same kind of push to save fuel as there was in the mid-70s.
Two, If you take a left onto a road that you THINK is one-way but it's not, it could cause a head-on collision that the driver doesn't see coming...until it's too late.
Three, if you're looking to the right before you take the left onto the one-way street, you may miss a pedestrian or bicyclist crossing the street and you could turn straight into them.
Four, Not every state allows a left turn at the red light onto a one-way street including New Jersey. So if a big deal is made in "legal" states then we'll assume that it's legal in every state when it's not...and chaos along with tickets will ensue.