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Right on red is OK at this intersection

I was wondering if you could answer a question for me regarding the new traffic signal recently installed at the Delta Waters/Highway 62 intersection, by Sportsmans' Warehouse. The new traffic signal is for those turning right onto Highway 62 from Delta Waters Road if you were coming from Sportsman's Warehouse or Safeway, with the right turning lane now being two lanes. If you are waiting at this signal and it is red, are you allowed to make a right turn on red if conditions allow on Highway 62? I have seen people make the right turn on red, but I have also seen people wait until the light turns green before turning even when traffic was light. Could you clarify this for me?

— M.W., Medford

I've gotten a few e-mails regarding this newly configured intersection. Fortunately it's a relatively easy answer. This turn from Delta Waters onto Highway 62 is very similar in principle to the turn from Stewart Avenue onto East Barnett in front of Hometown Buffet, which also confuses a number of drivers. In both cases you can turn right on the red light, and both the right and left lanes can turn right on the red light, making sure in this instance that the turn is made into the appropriate lane on Highway 62. Of course you must first come to a complete stop, yield to any vehicles on Highway 62, yield to pedestrians and obey any sign or police officer that prohibits the turn.

As for those drivers that you've seen waiting without turning, nothing in the statute says that you have to make the turn, just that it's allowed. But I then wonder, why wait for the light to cycle through when you can legally make the turn and be on your way (and probably make a bunch of drivers behind you happy, too)?

Dace Cochran, a patrol sergeant with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, writes a weekly Q&A column on police issues for the Mail Tribune. Have a question for him? Write to Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501, or e-mail cochradc@jacksoncounty.org.