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What exactly is running a red light in North Carolina?

On Behalf of | May 27, 2024 | Traffic tickets

Traffic signals are fundamental elements of road safety and orderly intersections. Red lights are particularly key because they’re the most universally recognized symbol for stopping. Failure to obey a red traffic light can interrupt the smooth flow of traffic and potentially cause accidents at intersections.

What exactly constitutes running a red light, and are there consequences for disobeying the signal? Getting succinct answers to this important question can save you from getting a traffic ticket.

What about yellow lights turning red?

When traffic lights turn red when you’re at an intersection, you’re supposed to stop until it’s safe to proceed. Therefore, entering an intersection while the traffic light is illuminated red is running a red light. Traffic regulations mandate that you stop even if the lights just turned from yellow to red.

After all, yellow lights are incorporated as a warning that the red light is about to come on. Therefore, you’re not allowed to quickly dash through the intersection just as the red light comes on.

Right turns on red

That said, North Carolina has some exceptions to this traffic regulation. The right-on-red law permits you to make a right turn at a red light once you make a complete stop. You are not permitted to make a left turn at a red light.

If traffic cameras capture you running a red light, your violation will be treated as a civil infraction, and you will receive a ticket in the mail. For this infraction, you’re expected to pay a $50 fine. This violation will not add points to your driver’s license or affect your insurance rates, however.

If you’re issued a traffic ticket, you may be able to fight it. It helps to have experienced legal guidance.