When Can You Turn Left on Red?

Image of a one-way traffic light displaying a red signal, controlling the flow of vehicles in a specific direction.

A left turn at a red light can only legally be done in California if you are turning from one one-way street to another. However, if someone breaks these traffic laws and causes an accident, you may have grounds for compensation.

Traffic laws can become complex quickly, especially if you are unfamiliar with certain types of intersections, specific rules, and one-way streets. These elements can make it more difficult to navigate the world around you, and in a worst-case scenario, they can lead to a car accident. Unfortunately, that can leave you with significant expenses and few avenues for action.

Fortunately, if you face difficulties following an accident and an intersection, you may ask questions about specific laws, such as whether you can turn left on a red light. Our car accident lawyers at Text Kevin Accident Attorneys offer the support and guidance needed for navigating this type of claim, so do not hesitate to reach out if you are hurt and struggling with questions like these.

Table of Contents

When Does California Allow a Left Turn at a Red Light?

California is one of 37 states that allows left turns at red lights in specific situations. According to the California Department of Transportation, you may turn left at a red light only when you are turning from one one-way street to another. You may be able to do this without legal penalties in these situations.

However, keep in mind that these must both be one-way streets at an intersection. You also must be sure that you do not simply yield. You must treat the red light as you would have a stop sign before proceeding through the intersection.

While this is a legal move, keep in mind that negligence or carelessness can still lead to an accident and can still lead to accusations of fault. For example, if the other party says that you were not looking before you entered the intersection, it can reflect poorly on your car accident claim. In these situations, you may need to consider taking legal action and pursuing legal representation from us to protect your compensation in a car accident.

Stay Safe When Making a Left Turn

While making a left turn at a red light is often legal, it may not always be safe. However, taking the proper precautions as you move forward through the intersection can help avoid an accident. Be sure you are taking the steps below to protect your safety and the safety of others.

Always Come to a Full Stop First

First, never yield at a red light. Failure to come to a complete stop is an illegal move and can lead to a moving violation under California Vehicle Code Section 22450. Rather than yielding at the light, stop completely behind the painted white line or crosswalk.

Be Vigilant About Your Surroundings

Ensuring you can turn safely is another key part of this law. If there are vehicles approaching at high speeds, you may not have time to cross, and entering the intersection at this time puts you and others in danger. Likewise, always look twice for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists, as they may be less visible and more vulnerable than other motor vehicles.

Pro Tip
When in doubt, wait for the light to turn green. Avoiding an accident is crucial to your health and safety in many cases, so do not risk it unnecessarily.

Accidents Can Happen when Other Drivers Are Careless at Traffic Lights

Unfortunately, accidents can still happen even if you are careful as you turn left at a red light. Other drivers may not be so cautious, and those who are speeding, distracted, or driving under the influence, among others, may cause devastating accidents that impact your recovery. These accidents can leave you struggling to recover in the wake of your accident.

In fact, intersection accidents can be dangerous or even deadly. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, around 25% of fatal accidents and 50% of all traffic accidents occur at intersections. Intersections can lead to high-speed collisions and accidents that may strike the driver or passenger with much more force and with less of the vehicle frame between them.

Unfortunately, that means you may be severely injured because another driver was careless. The good news is that our team can help you pursue compensation when someone else is negligent with your safety. If you are struggling to overcome the situation, we can begin with a free consultation and secure the compensation you need for your case.

Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself and Others Following an Intersection Accident

As you navigate a car accident lawsuit, remember that what you do in the aftermath of the accident does matter. Mistakes can lead to the reduction or dismissal of your claim. Because the impacts can be so dire, be sure that you are taking all of the following steps to protect your case.

Get Medical Care

In the immediate aftermath of an intersection car accident, you may need to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Severe injuries can happen in intersection accidents, especially if you were in a T-bone accident. Fortunately, seeking medical care now can help you avoid worsening symptoms that can further impact your health.

Even if you feel fine, consider speaking to a doctor. Delayed injuries can be difficult to spot, but the longer you wait for treatment, the more severe the damage will be. For example, according to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, up to 39% of important, potentially fatal injuries are delayed in presenting themselves.

Document the Scene

If you are able to, also consider documenting the accident scene. The more evidence you have gathered, the more evidence you have available for your claim. Keep in mind as well that time, weather, and human error can destroy evidence, so gathering it now can help you protect it for later.

Contact the Police

In the wake of an accident, you should also consider contacting the police. In California, you are required to file a police report within 10 days if your accident caused more than $1,000 of property damage or if someone was injured or killed in the accident under California Vehicle Code Section 16000. Contacting them as soon as possible can help you get your police report quickly and use that to file a claim.

Fortunately, your car accident police report can be useful for your case. A clear account of how the accident happened and who was involved gives you a point of reference for your case that can help you navigate it. This document can also help you recall specifics of your accident that may be difficult to understand or recall without it.

Seek Our Attorneys’ help

Taking these steps can be difficult, and you may find yourself struggling to take the correct steps in a reasonable time period. Unfortunately, mistakes can be costly, including losing your chance of compensation, so reach out to us as your dedicated, experienced personal injury lawyers to get a better chance for compensation. We offer free consultations and are prepared to guide you through the above steps and beyond.

Injuries from an Intersection Crash Can Turn Deadly Fast

As you pursue compensation following an intersection car accident, you may also be struggling to recover from serious injuries. Those injuries can haunt you for years following the accident, and they may be more severe than you realize. Talk to us about any of the following injuries you have suffered, as we may focus fully on helping you navigate your injury recovery.

Brain Trauma

Your brain is the cognitive center of the body, meaning all orders given for the rest of the body are handled here. That means a traumatic brain injury (TBI), even a mild one like a concussion, can lead to serious losses. Mild TBI symptoms may range from brain fog to mood swings, while serious TBIs can lead to symptoms like loss of senses, memory loss, and more.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Your brain is the cognitive center of the body, but your spinal cord carries messages to the rest of the body. If your spinal cord is damaged because someone else was negligent, you may lose sensation or motor function from the point of that injury down. Depending on the severity of the damage, that can mean permanent paralysis from the point of the spinal cord injury.

Other Injuries Can Also Be Life-Threatening

While these damages may be some of the more severe you could suffer, they are not the only ones you may be facing. Car accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries, which can leave you with permanent scars and changes in ability because of the accident. Below are just a few of the dangerous, even life-threatening injuries you may face following an intersection crash:

  • Broken bones
  • Burn injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Traumatic amputation
  • Death

Sadly, you may not be filing a claim for injuries for yourself but for a loved one who may have been killed in a car accident. In these cases, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim instead, which can give you and your family compensation and closure for your losses. Talk to attorney Kevin Crockett and the rest of our team about the exact details of what you can do if a loved one classes away in a traumatic accident.

If unsure you were injured, do not hesitate to get medical treatment. Delayed injuries may leave you feeling fine, but they may turn deadly, so always seek out help.

You May Be Due Compensation if Someone Causes a Crash at a Red Light

When someone else causes an accident at a red light because they failed to follow state traffic laws, you may be hurt and suffering because of their actions. However, you also have an opportunity to get help and compensation that meets the needs of your many damages. Talk to us about the specific damages you may be due following your accident.

Economic Damages

As you pursue compensation for a serious accident, one of your first concerns may be the financial losses you have suffered because of your accident. These economic damages should cover any monetary losses you have suffered, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. If you are unsure what yours are worth, we can add up the current losses you have already suffered and estimate your future costs.

Non-Economic Damages

A severe car accident can cause not just economic damage but also pain and suffering. Your non-economic damages should cover any mental or emotional toll caused by your accident, from emotional trauma to a loss of enjoyment of life. We can help you calculate these damages based on the severity of your suffering and the impact that suffering has had on your future, so do not hesitate to reach out for help calculating these losses.

You may also be due punitive damages, but these damages are not due in every situation. Talk to us if you believe the at-fault party was grossly negligent or tried to harm you.

Seek Our Dedicated, Professional Car Accident Law Firm for California Red Light Accidents

As you navigate certain roadways, you may find yourself dealing with questions about specific traffic laws and rules that can impact the outcome of your case. Unfortunately, you may have been involved in a serious accident because someone did not obey these laws, and you have been injured. For example, while turning left at a red light is legal in certain instances, a driver who illegally turns left at a red light may have caused your injuries.

In these situations, you may need help recovering from the mistakes of a car accident claim, starting with our aid from Text Kevin Accident Attorneys. We offer free consultations, so you can always speak with us before you ever choose to file a claim with our team. To learn more about our offerings, do not hesitate to reach out for guidance by calling or completing our online contact form.

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett is an award-winning personal injury lawyer who understands the impact an accident can have on someone’s life. That’s why he aggressively fights for each of his clients.

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