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

Navigating traffic intersections seamlessly can be a challenge, especially with varying rules across different states. Understanding the “Right Turn on Red” (RTOR) rule is crucial for drivers in Missouri, as it can help improve traffic flow and reduce wait times. However, it’s vital to ensure safe and responsible maneuvers according to the specific regulations.

Legality of Right Turn on Red in Missouri:

Turning right on a red light is generally permitted in Missouri, except where specifically prohibited by signs. This rule applies to both one-way and two-way streets. However, it’s crucial to remember that left turns on red are always illegal in Missouri, even when turning from a one-way street onto another.

Key Requirements for Safe Right Turns on Red:

Before proceeding with a right turn on red, drivers must strictly adhere to the following requirements:

  1. Yielding the Right of Way: This is paramount. Drivers must come to a complete stop and yield the right of way to pedestrians lawfully crossing the street, bicyclists, and other vehicles approaching the intersection from any direction, including those going straight or turning left. Only when the path is completely clear and safe to proceed should the turn be initiated.
  2. Complete Stop: Drivers must come to a complete stop before turning right on red. This means the vehicle must be motionless for a brief moment before proceeding. Rolling stops are illegal and unsafe.
  3. Clear View of Traffic: Before turning, drivers must ensure they have a clear view of all approaching traffic in all directions, including both oncoming and cross-traffic. This means checking left, right, and straight for any potential conflicts.
  4. Safety and Congestion: Even when the above conditions are met, drivers should prioritize safety and avoid turning right on red if it might cause congestion or pose a hazard to themselves or others. For example, if there are multiple vehicles waiting to turn left onto the intersecting street, proceeding with the right turn might create gridlock.
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Additional Considerations:

  • Specific Restrictions: In certain locations, additional restrictions may apply to right turns on red. These areas include school zones, intersections with dedicated turn lanes, and those marked with specific “No Turn on Red” signs. Always obey posted signage, regardless of the general rule.
  • Penalties for Violations: Violating the right-turn-on-red rules can result in fines and points on your driver’s license. In some cases, it could even lead to more serious consequences if an accident occurs due to the infraction.
  • Tips for Safe and Efficient Turns:

    • Approach the intersection cautiously: Reduce speed gradually and be prepared to stop if necessary.
    • Use your turn signal: Indicate your intention to turn well in advance.
    • Be patient: Don’t rush the turn if traffic conditions are not ideal.
    • Stay alert: Remain aware of your surroundings and anticipate potential hazards.


Understanding and following the right-turn-on-red rule in Missouri can contribute to smoother traffic flow and shorter wait times. However, it’s crucial to prioritize safety by adhering to all requirements and exercising caution. Remember, responsible driving practices benefit everyone on the road.

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