Colorado Traffic Rule 2024 Update: Understanding the Right Turn on Red Rule

Navigating Colorado’s roadways smoothly and safely requires understanding and following traffic regulations. One crucial rule for drivers is the right turn on red, which allows vehicles to turn right at a red light after coming to a complete stop and yielding to pedestrians and other traffic. This article delves into the specifics of Colorado’s right turn on red rule, including recent updates in 2024, to ensure safe and efficient driving practices.

What is the Right Turn on Red Rule in Colorado?

In Colorado, drivers can turn right on red at most intersections unless prohibited by a traffic sign or signal. However, specific conditions must be met before making the turn:

  1. Come to a complete stop: Before proceeding, the vehicle must come to a complete stop behind the marked stop line or crosswalk, if present. Rolling stops are illegal and can result in a ticket.
  2. Yield to pedestrians and other vehicles: The driver must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in the crosswalk and any vehicles lawfully occupying the intersection. This includes oncoming traffic, turning vehicles, and those proceeding straight through the intersection.
  3. Use caution and check for hazards: Even when the right turn appears safe, drivers must exercise caution and check for potential hazards before proceeding. This includes looking for oncoming traffic, especially in blind spots, and ensuring no pedestrians are crossing outside of designated crosswalks.
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Exceptions and Limitations:

While the right turn on red is generally permitted, there are certain exceptions and limitations to be aware of:

  • Posted signs: Intersections with signs specifically prohibiting right turns on red, such as “No Right Turn on Red” or “Right Turn After Stop,” must be strictly followed.
  • School zones: During school hours, right turns on red are generally prohibited near schools to prioritize student safety.
  • Certain intersections: Specific intersections with complex traffic patterns or safety concerns may have restrictions on right turns on red, even without posted signs. Drivers should be familiar with local traffic regulations and signage.

Recent Changes to the Colorado Right Turn on Red Rule (2024)

As of February 2024, there haven’t been any major changes to the Colorado right turn on red rule. However, there are ongoing discussions and proposals for potential modifications, such as:

  • Expanding the use of flashing yellow arrows: These arrows currently signal permitted right turns on red after a brief stop, and some propose expanding their use at specific intersections to improve traffic flow.
  • Piloting right turn on red after stop signs: Limited pilot programs are exploring allowing right turns on red after stopping at certain stop signs, with careful evaluation of safety impacts.

It’s important to stay informed about any future changes to the rule by checking official sources like the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles website.

Key Points to Remember for Safe Right Turns on Red:

  • Always come to a complete stop: This is the most crucial step, regardless of how clear the intersection appears.
  • Yield the right-of-way: Pedestrians and other vehicles in the intersection have the right-of-way, and drivers must wait patiently until it’s safe to proceed.
  • Check for oncoming traffic and blind spots: A quick glance isn’t enough. Drivers must actively scan for potential hazards before turning.
  • Be aware of exceptions and limitations: Pay attention to posted signs and be familiar with local traffic regulations.
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Additional Resources and Information:


Understanding and following the right turn on red rule in Colorado is essential for safe and responsible driving. By adhering to the outlined steps, yielding the right-of-way, and exercising caution, drivers can contribute to a smoother and safer driving experience for everyone on the road. Remember to stay informed about any potential changes to the rule and prioritize safety above all else.

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