fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

Red arrow left turn OK onto one-way street

I am puzzled by the turning arrows found at many intersections. Does a red turning arrow at an intersection with a one-way street indicate no turns, even if you stop and it is safe to proceed? How about a red light turning arrow at an intersection with a two-way street? Thank you for sorting this out for me.

— George F.

It never hurts to have a refresher, George. We'll try to get this all down before our light changes.

Having a red arrow on a traffic signal does not mean you cannot turn, but only if you turn onto a one-way street, according to Sgt. Don Lane with the Medford Police Department. Let's say you're at McAndrews Road and Court Street, for example.

"If you are traveling west on McAndrews and are stopped to turn left on Court, you are able to turn left onto Court as long as you stop and make sure it is safe to turn," Lane told us by email.

Don't believe us? Just look up ORS 811.360:

"The driver of a vehicle, subject to this section, who is intending to turn at an intersection where there is a traffic control device showing a steady circular red signal, a steady red bicycle signal or a steady red arrow signal may do any of the following without violating ORS 811.260 (Appropriate driver responses to traffic control devices) and 811.265 (Driver failure to obey traffic control device):

(a) Make a right turn into a two-way street.

(b) Make a right or left turn into a one-way street in the direction of traffic upon the one-way street."

This changes if you're trying to turn left onto a two-way street and are facing a red arrow. You can't legally make that turn at such an intersection.

Hope that helps. Either way, our arrow just turned green, and we've got to go.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.