A handful of U.S. states allow motorists to turn left on a red light. Michigan is one of them. But making a left on red is only permitted in certain situations. Motorists need to know the rules to reduce the likelihood of an accident and harming others.
Below, the car accident attorneys at Christensen Law discuss when you’re allowed to turn left at a red light in Michigan. We’ll also explain how the law affects your interactions with bicyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers. If you’ve suffered injuries in a traffic crash, call or reach out today for a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer.
Left Turn on Red Light Rules in Michigan
In most states, drivers are prohibited from turning left on red. They must typically wait for either a protected green light (usually a green arrow) or an unprotected green light (a standard green light) before they can turn left through an intersection.
According to the Michigan Vehicle Code, drivers can turn left at a red light under certain conditions.
Before turning left on red, drivers must:
- Be turning onto a one-way street
- Ensure traffic is moving in the same direction the driver is going
- Come to a complete stop before proceeding through the intersection
The rules for left turns at red lights are the same whether you turn off from a one-way street or a two-way street. However, you can only turn left onto a one-way street.
In some cases, a sign may explicitly prohibit you from turning left on red. These signs are usually located above or next to the traffic signal and should be visible to drivers. Drivers may find additional signs on the opposite side of the intersection. In any case, there should be at least one, if not two, signs that indicate to drivers when they cannot turn left on red.
Instead of a sign, turning left on red could also be prohibited by light, marking, or other traffic control signals. If any sign or signal exists to indicate that drivers may not turn left on red, then you must obey it.
The left turns on red lights rule helps prevent traffic congestion on busy streets. By allowing drivers to turn left in specific situations, cars can move more smoothly along bustling roads, particularly in large cities like Detroit.
Can You Turn Left on Red If Bicycles or Pedestrians Are in the Road?
If you are turning left at a red light in Michigan, you never have the right of way. The right of way belongs to other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists crossing the intersection when you attempt to turn.
If bicyclists or pedestrians are present and crossing the intersection, you must wait for them to cross before turning left on red. Watch for traffic entering on your right and crossing over onto the street you’re attempting to turn onto.
In short, always yield to oncoming traffic, bicyclists, and pedestrians if you are at a red light, regardless of whether you can legally turn left. Any violation of the rules laid out in Michigan’s Vehicle Code can result in a civil infraction or, worse, a deadly collision.
Injured In a Car Accident? Call the Auto Accident Attorneys at Christensen Law Today
Drivers who fail to yield the right of way when turning left on red can cause terrible accidents with pedestrians, bicyclists, and other motorists. If you sustained injuries in a crash, a car accident lawyer from Christensen Law can help you pursue monetary compensation for your losses.
Our proven legal team has the knowledge and talent to help you seek the compensation you deserve. Negotiating a settlement with the insurance company can be incredibly stressful, especially if you are trying to recover from your injuries. Our attorneys can take that burden off your shoulders by handling every aspect of your case for you.
If you suffered a severe injury that allows you to step outside Michigan’s no-fault insurance system, our attorneys could also help you bring a third-party claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver. A successful suit could provide additional compensation beyond what you recovered from your no-fault insurer.
Don’t wait to learn your legal rights and options after a car wreck. Get a free case review with Christensen Law today. Call or contact us now.