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

Navigating traffic lights efficiently can be a balancing act, especially when it comes to the Right Turn on Red (RTOR) rule. While it offers potential time savings, it’s crucial to understand the nuances of the law and prioritize safety to avoid any potential hazards. This article delves into the Wisconsin RTOR rule, clarifying its basics, recent updates (if applicable), safety considerations, and frequently asked questions.


Wisconsin’s RTOR law allows drivers to make a right turn after coming to a complete stop at a red light, provided there is no opposing traffic or pedestrians crossing in the crosswalk. This can offer time efficiency, but concerns about safety and potential conflicts with pedestrians are valid considerations. In 2024 (if applicable), there may have been updates to the RTOR law, which this article will address alongside the fundamental rules and best practices.

Basics of the RTOR Law

Before executing a right turn on red in Wisconsin, certain conditions must be met:

  • Complete Stop: You must come to a complete stop and remain stopped until it’s safe to proceed. Rolling stops are illegal and dangerous.
  • No Opposing Traffic or Pedestrians: Ensure there is no oncoming traffic in the lane you’re turning into and no pedestrians crossing the crosswalk you’re turning across.
  • Yielding Right of Way: Always yield the right of way to any pedestrians or vehicles already in the intersection, even if they have a red light.
  • Reasonable Caution: Use your judgment and prioritize safety. Proceed only when it’s clear and safe to turn without causing any disruptions or potential accidents.
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Remember, RTOR is not allowed under the following circumstances:

  • No Right Turn Sign: If a “No Right Turn” sign is present, regardless of the light, turning right is prohibited.
  • Double Red Light: A double red light signifies a complete stop, and turning on red is strictly forbidden.
  • School Zone: During school hours when flashing lights are activated, right turns on red are not allowed in school zones.
  • Specific Restrictions: Certain intersections may have designated restrictions on turning on red, indicated by specific signage or markings. Always be vigilant and follow posted instructions.

Recent Updates or Changes (if applicable)

As of February 22, 2024, there are no updates to the Wisconsin RTOR law. However, if any updates occurred in 2024, this section would provide details about the effective date, specific changes, their reasoning, and anticipated impact.

Safety Considerations and Best Practices

Safety should always be your top priority, even when making a legal right turn on red. Here are some crucial tips:

  • Thorough Check: Come to a complete stop and thoroughly check all directions before proceeding. Look for oncoming vehicles, pedestrians in crosswalks, and potential hazards.
  • Yield with Caution: Yield the right of way to all pedestrians and vehicles, even if they have a red light. Assume they may not be paying full attention and proceed cautiously.
  • Stay Focused: Avoid distractions like phone calls, music, or using your navigation system while making a right turn on red.
  • Smooth and Slow: Once it’s safe to proceed, turn slowly and smoothly, avoiding sudden maneuvers that could surprise other road users.
  • Be Aware of Hazards: Be mindful of specific hazards at different intersections, such as poor visibility, blind spots, or turning lanes that might intersect yours.
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FAQs and Resources

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the Wisconsin RTOR law:

  • Can I make left turns on red? No, left turns on red are illegal in Wisconsin.
  • What are the penalties for violating the RTOR law? Violating the RTOR law can result in a fine, points on your license, or even a suspension.
  • Where can I find more information about traffic laws in Wisconsin? You can visit the official Wisconsin Department of Transportation website (https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/home.aspx) or consult your driver’s manual.


Understanding the RTOR law is crucial for safe and responsible driving in Wisconsin. Remember, even when permitted, prioritize safety and yield the right of way to pedestrians and other vehicles. By following the rules, best practices, and staying informed, you can navigate intersections efficiently while ensuring the safety of yourself and others on the road.

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