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Right Turn on Red vs. U-Turn – Who has the Right of Way?

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Right Turn on Red vs. U-Turn – Who has the Right of Way?


  • Turning right on red in Florida is legal, as long as they yield to everyone else in an intersection.
  • Many drivers mistakenly assume that when someone turns right on red, they have the right of way.
  • Failing to make sure an intersection is clear before turning right on red can lead to severe injuries and deaths.
  • Determining fault in an intersection accident can sometimes be complex. A skilled attorney can investigate to help an injury victim get the compensation they deserve.

If you’ve driven in St. Petersburg for a while, you’ve probably encountered a problem that concerns many people. Near misses happen far too often at fully controlled intersections where signals control traffic in all directions. 

These misses typically involve a driver executing a legal U-turn on the green light and a driver attempting to turn right on red.

In this situation, who has the right of way? That’s the question we’ll answer in this article. If you suffer an injury in a traffic accident because of another driver’s negligence at an intersection, an attorney with the Jones Law Group can help. Schedule a free consultation by contacting us online or calling 727-571-1333.

U-turn on Green and Right Turn on Red? Who Has the Right of Way?

If you’ve driven in St. Petersburg for a while, you’ve probably noticed that most people believe that the person turning right on red has the right of way. Nothing could be further from the truth.

According to Florida Statute 316.075, vehicles may execute a U-turn on a green signal as long as there is no signage prohibiting a U-turn at the intersection. The driver executing the U-turn must yield the right of way to pedestrians and other vehicles that are lawfully in the intersection.

Likewise, Florida Statute 316.075 permits a driver to make a right turn on red if it can be safely accomplished. Essentially, a driver attempting to execute a right turn on red must yield to everyone else lawfully within the intersection.

Therefore, screaming, honking, and obscene gestures aside, the driver executing a lawful U-turn has the right of way.

The Driver Making a Right on Red Has a Duty to Make Sure the Intersection is Clear

There are numerous derivations of the same situation. If there is no signal or sign for the driver making the U-turn but a stop sign facing the driver attempting to make a right turn, the driver making a legal U-turn still has the right of way.

As a general rule, the driver attempting to execute a right turn on red will be at fault for accidents that occur at the intersection involving the right-on-red driver. The driver attempting to execute a right on red has a duty to make sure that the intersection is free of pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, and other cars lawfully in the intersection.

Many people will complain because it is impossible to discern whether cars in the left turn lane will execute a U-turn or simply make a left turn. It is a good practice when turning right on red to check the traffic approaching from the left, both crosswalks and the left-hand turn lane so that you are certain it is safe to proceed with the right turn.

Right on Red Can Causes Serious Accidents and Injuries

The results of an inattentive driver turning right on red can be devastating. The only logical excuse for accidents caused in this manner is driver impatience. The best result of such an accident is usually a collision with a car making a U-turn.

Car accidents with other cars or motorcycles approaching the intersection at full speed can have fatal consequences when the driver executing a right on red fails to do so properly.

Collisions with bicycle riders or pedestrians lawfully in the crosswalk will also cause significant and serious injuries to the riders and pedestrians.

Unfortunately, the results of this type of car accident can be devastating and include:

  1. Death;
  2. Traumatic brain injury and/or concussions;
  3. Spinal cord damage and/or paralysis;
  4. Disfigurement;
  5. Fractured or broken bones; and
  6. Neck and back injuries.

Who’s at Fault for an Intersection Accident? 

As we covered earlier, if a driver is making a right turn on red and collides with another vehicle, that driver will likely be responsible for the accident. Other common intersection accident scenarios involve running a red light and failing to yield. Determining liability in those instances is easy. The driver who committed the negligent act is responsible.

But assigning fault in an interaction accident isn’t always black and white. Several factors, including speed, visibility, and weather conditions, can play a role. Multiple parties could share the blame. 

Determining blame in an intersection accident requires an immediate, detailed investigation. You must contact an attorney as soon as possible so they can collect the evidence needed to prove you’re not responsible. If you hesitate to get legal help, evidence could quickly disappear. 

Contact an Experienced St Petersburg Accident and Injury Lawyer

Have you been involved in an accident caused by a driver attempting to turn right on red and failed to properly yield the right of way? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today. The decision to hire an experienced personal injury attorney is an extremely important one. It should be a personal decision based upon research and a comfort level with your attorney that is only reached after a face-to-face meeting with the attorney who will be handling your case. Experience the personalized service that you will receive at Jones Law Group.

Whether you were operating a car or motorcycle, or you were a pedestrian or bicyclist and have been injured in an accident, you should immediately call Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free, and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I file a car accident lawsuit if I’m partially at fault?

Yes, you can. Florida is a comparative negligence state, meaning you can recover damages if you’re partially to blame. However, you won’t be eligible for compensation if an investigation shows you’re more than 50% at fault. 

What types of damages can I recover from a car accident? 

Damages are the financial losses stemming from an accident. These include medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. Other damages are also available, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and lost quality of life.

What steps should I take after an intersection accident? 

First, get to a safe place immediately. Take photos of the accident scene if you can, and get the contact information of witnesses. Next, call 911 for medical help and to report the accident to the authorities. Once you receive the medical attention you need, call a lawyer so they can investigate the accident. 

Heath Murphy

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio