Georgia Traffic Rule Update: Understanding the Right Turn on Red Rule 2024

Navigating city streets can be a constant dance between efficiency and safety. Traffic rules play a crucial role in maintaining order on the roads, and one frequently encountered rule is the right turn on red (RTOR). This blog post delves into the specifics of Georgia’s RTOR regulation as of April 22, 2024, exploring its nuances and offering guidance for safe and compliant driving.

Current Status: No Changes to Georgia’s RTOR Rule (April 22, 2024)

As of today, Georgia hasn’t implemented any recent changes to its RTOR law. This means drivers in Atlanta, Savannah, Macon, Columbus, and other cities across the state can still make right turns at red lights under specific conditions.

Understanding the Existing RTOR Rule in Georgia

Here’s a breakdown of Georgia’s current RTOR rule based on Official Code 40-6-21:

  • Complete Stop: Before turning right, drivers must come to a complete stop behind the marked stop line. Rolling stops are strictly prohibited.
  • Yielding Right of Way: The turn can only be made after yielding the right of way to all oncoming traffic, including pedestrians crossing within the intersection, whether in a marked crosswalk or not.
  • No Prohibition Signs: The absence of a “No Right Turn on Red” sign signifies that a right turn is permitted under the aforementioned conditions.

Safety Considerations When Making a Right Turn on Red

While RTOR can improve traffic flow, prioritizing safety is paramount. Here are some key reminders for Georgia drivers:

  • Double Check for Oncoming Traffic: Don’t rely solely on your initial glance. Actively scan for approaching vehicles from both directions before proceeding.
  • Yield to Pedestrians in All Directions: Be extra cautious of pedestrians, especially those who might not be using designated crosswalks.
  • Beware of Blinding Sun Glare: Don’t attempt a right turn if the sun obstructs your vision of oncoming traffic.
  • Turn Signal Usage: Activate your right turn signal well in advance to alert other drivers of your intention.
  • Proceed with Caution: Even if the right of way seems clear, make the turn cautiously, anticipating potential hazards like sudden lane changes or distracted drivers.

Exceptions to Georgia’s RTOR Rule:

There are situations where a right turn on red is prohibited in Georgia:

  • Marked “No Right Turn on Red” Signs: These signs take precedence and override the general RTOR permission.
  • School Buses with Flashing Lights: Always stop for school buses with flashing red lights, regardless of the direction you’re traveling.
  • Double Red Lights: Treat a double red light as a stop sign; no right turns are permitted.
  • Unfamiliar Intersections: If unsure about the right-of-way at an intersection, especially a complex one, err on the side of caution and come to a complete stop.

Beyond Georgia: A Look at RTOR Laws in Other States

RTOR regulations vary across the US. Here’s a glimpse into how some neighboring states handle right turns on red:

  • Florida: Similar to Georgia, Florida allows RTOR with a complete stop and yield to oncoming traffic. However, some Florida counties have stricter regulations in specific areas.
  • South Carolina: Like Georgia, South Carolina permits RTOR after a complete stop and yielding right of way. However, unlike Georgia, pedestrians in a marked crosswalk in South Carolina have the absolute right of way, even against a red light.
  • Alabama: Alabama follows the national standard RTOR rule, allowing right turns on red only after a complete stop and yielding to oncoming traffic, including pedestrians in marked crosswalks.

The Future of RTOR in Georgia

Traffic laws are subject to revisions as traffic patterns and safety concerns evolve. While Georgia hasn’t announced any upcoming changes to its RTOR rule, staying informed about potential updates is crucial.

Here are some resources for drivers to stay updated:

  • Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) Website:
  • Local News Sources: News outlets in major Georgia cities often report on traffic law changes.


Understanding Georgia’s RTOR rule is essential for safe and legal driving. Remember, even when permitted, right turns on red should be executed with caution, prioritizing the safety of yourself and others on the road. By staying informed about traffic regulations and practicing defensive driving techniques, everyone can contribute to a smoother and safer flow of traffic in Georgia’s cities.

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MBS Staff
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