Delaware Traffic Rule Update: Understanding the Right Turn on Red Rule in 2024

Acing your driver’s license test is just the first step to becoming a safe and responsible driver. Traffic laws are constantly evolving, and staying informed about these changes is crucial. This article delves specifically into the right turn on red (RTOR) rule in Delaware as of 2024. Whether you’re a seasoned driver cruising through Wilmington or a newcomer navigating the streets of Dover, understanding the RTOR rule can ensure a smooth and safe driving experience.

Understanding Right Turn on Red (RTOR)

The RTOR rule allows drivers to make a right turn at a red light after coming to a complete stop, yielding the right of way to pedestrians and oncoming traffic. This maneuver can improve traffic flow, especially during periods of low traffic volume. However, it’s important to exercise caution and adhere to specific guidelines to avoid accidents.

Current RTOR Rule in Delaware (as of May 4, 2024)

Delaware follows the standard RTOR rule. Here’s a breakdown of the key points:

  • Right to Turn: Drivers are permitted to turn right on a red light after coming to a complete stop.
  • Complete Stop: This is a legal requirement. Rolling stops or failing to stop completely are violations.
  • Yielding Right of Way: Before making the turn, drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians crossing the street they intend to turn onto and oncoming traffic with a green light.
  • Posted Signs: Certain intersections may have signs prohibiting right turns on red. Always obey these signs.

Important Considerations for Safe RTOR in Delaware

While the RTOR rule can be convenient, prioritize safety above all else. Here are some crucial pointers to remember:

  • Visibility: Ensure a clear view of oncoming traffic and pedestrians in all directions before proceeding.
  • Pedestrians: Be extra cautious when turning right on red during pedestrian crossing times. Double-check for pedestrians who may be in your blind spot or those who may not be adhering to crosswalk signals.
  • Oncoming Traffic: Don’t turn if oncoming traffic is turning left or if there’s not enough space to safely complete the turn without impeding their movement.
  • Left-Turning Vehicles: Be aware of vehicles turning left from the opposite direction. They may not anticipate a car turning right on red and could cause a collision.
  • No Right Turn on Red Signs: Always obey posted signs that prohibit right turns on red, even if you see other drivers making the turn illegally.
  • Night Time: During low-visibility conditions like nighttime or bad weather, exercise extra caution and consider waiting for the light to turn green if you have any doubts about making the turn safely.

When is it Best to Avoid Right Turn on Red in Delaware?

  • High-Traffic Intersections: If the intersection is busy, it’s generally safer to wait for the light to turn green to avoid potential conflicts with other vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Unfamiliar Intersections: When approaching an unfamiliar intersection, it’s advisable to wait for the green light to assess traffic flow and potential hazards before attempting an RTOR.
  • Complex Intersections: Intersections with multiple lanes, turning lanes, or unclear signage are best navigated with a green light to avoid confusion and potential accidents.

Penalties for Violating RTOR in Delaware

Disregarding the RTOR rule in Delaware can result in a traffic violation. The specific penalty may vary depending on the severity of the offense and the driver’s history of violations. Here’s a general breakdown:

  • Fine: The standard fine for a right-turn-on-red violation can range from $50 to $200.
  • Points: Points may be assessed to the driver’s license, which can lead to higher insurance premiums and potential license suspension for accumulating too many points.

Additional Tips for Safe Driving in Delaware

  • Defensive Driving: Always practice defensive driving techniques, anticipating the actions of other drivers and pedestrians.
  • Stay Alert: Avoid distractions like using your phone or eating while driving.
  • Obey All Traffic Laws: Familiarize yourself with Delaware’s traffic laws and regulations beyond just the RTOR rule.
  • Road Conditions: Be mindful of road conditions like weather, construction zones, and potential hazards.
  • Buckle Up: Always wear your seatbelt and ensure all passengers are buckled up as well.


Understanding the RTOR rule and exercising caution are essential for safe and responsible driving in Delaware. By following the guidelines outlined above, you can contribute to a smoother traffic flow and minimize the risk of accidents. Remember, prioritizing safety is paramount. If you’re unsure about making a right turn on red at an intersection, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and wait for the light to turn green.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About RTOR in Delaware

  • Can I turn right on red if there’s a yellow light?

No, a yellow light is a warning that the red light is about to turn. You should come to a complete stop unless it’s safe to stop before entering the intersection.

  • What if a police officer is present at the intersection?

Always follow the instructions of a police officer, even if they differ from the standard RTOR rule.

  • Is there a grace period for stopping at a red light before turning right?

Delaware doesn’t have a specific grace period defined by law. However, coming to a complete stop is a legal requirement.

  • Are there any exceptions to the RTOR rule in Delaware besides posted signs?

Yes, in some cases, even without a posted sign, you may not be able to turn right on red. Examples include:

* If there’s a marked right-turn lane with a yield sign, you must yield to oncoming traffic before turning.

* If you’re turning onto a one-way street with oncoming traffic, you must wait for a green light.

  • Where can I find more information about Delaware’s traffic laws?

The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website is a valuable resource for information on traffic laws and regulations:


By understanding the right turn on red rule in Delaware and practicing safe driving habits, you can ensure a smooth and safe journey for yourself and others on the road. Remember, knowledge and caution are key to navigating Delaware’s traffic regulations effectively.


This blog article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Always refer to official Delaware DMV resources and consult with a legal professional if you have any specific questions about traffic laws.

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MBS Staff
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