Behaviours – Turning Right at a Red Light

The Basics

In Québec, right turns on red lights are not allowed everywhere. You must obey traffic signs and understand the basic rules to ensure your own safety and the safety of others.

Are right turns on red allowed? Look carefully at the signs

Concerning the prohibition from turning right on red on the island of Montréal

Traffic signs indicating the prohibition from turning right on red have been installed at Montréal points of entry, including bridges, tunnels, ferries and the airport.

Sign with an arrow curved to the right with a red diagonal bar through it that is set above a red traffic light. The sign has a tab below it that says «Île de Montréal». This sign indicates that it is prohibited to turn right when the traffic light is

In the city of Québec and elsewhere in the province

Turning right at a red light is allowed, unless otherwise indicated.

Right turns on red may be prohibited at all times

For safety reasons, turning right on red is prohibited at all times at intersections that are deemed dangerous. A traffic sign indicates the prohibition.

Sign with an arrow curved to the right with a red diagonal bar through it that is set above a red traffic light. This sign indicates that it is prohibited to turn right when the traffic light is red.

Right turns on red may be prohibited during specific periods

If the prohibition concerns a particular time of day or specific days or months, a tab is added below the first sign.

Sign with an arrow curved to the right with a red diagonal bar through it that is set above a red traffic light. The sign has a tab below it listing specific hours. This sign indicates that it is prohibited to turn right when the traffic light is red and specifies the hours during which the prohibition is in effect.    Sign with an arrow curved to the right with a red diagonal bar through it that is set above a red traffic light. The sign has a tab below it listing specific days and hours. This sign indicates that it is prohibited to turn right when the traffic light is red and specifies the hours and days during which the prohibition is in effect.    Sign with an arrow curved to the right with a red diagonal bar through it set above a red traffic light. The sign has a tab below it listing specific hours and months. This sign indicates that it is prohibited to turn right when the traffic light is red and specifies the hours and months during which the prohibition is in effect.

How to turn right on a red light

If you are a driver or cyclist

  1. Stop
    • Coming to a full stop is mandatory.
    • Come to a stop behind the stop line or pedestrian crossing.
    • Remember, a pedestrian who is authorized to enter the intersection has the right of way.
  2. Look
    • Make sure you are allowed to make a right turn on a red light.
    • Yield the right of way to pedestrians or to road vehicles and cyclists that have entered or are about to enter the intersection.
    • Look in your right rearview mirror and check your right blind spot to make sure no pedestrians or cyclists are present.
  3. Decide
    • You are not required to turn right at a red light. If you decide to do so, you can turn when the lane is free of traffic.

Cyclists and turning right on red: be extra careful

Cyclists must come to a full stop before turning right at a red light, where permitted. Check your surroundings and make sure it is safe for you to go.

The Highway Safety Code applies to you as well

If you turn right on red where it is not permitted or do not come to a full stop before turning, you are liable to a fine as well as demerit points, even if you do not hold a driver's licence.

If you are a pedestrian

You must always be particularly vigilant at intersections where turning right at a red light is permitted.

  1. Stop
    Stop on the sidewalk or side of the road, if there is no sidewalk.
  2. Look
    Look left, ahead, right and over your left shoulder to make sure no vehicles or cyclists are about to turn right on a red light.
  3. Decide
    Once you are certain the way is clear and the traffic light authorizes you to enter the intersection, you can cross.

When do pedestrians have the right of way?

  • If there is a pedestrian traffic light, they have the right of way when the white pedestrian signal appears.
  • If there is no pedestrian traffic light, they have the right of way at a green light.

Who has the right of way where turning right on red is allowed?

You must come to a full stop and yield the right of way to pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles that:

  • have already entered the intersection
  • are about to enter the intersection

This rule applies to motorists, cyclists, motorcyclists, truck drivers, etc.

Turning right at a red light is a privilege, not an obligation

  • Respect the decision of a driver who decides not to turn right at a red light.
  • Never honk your horn to force the driver ahead. Doing so is not only rude, it is also an offence liable to a fine of $100 to $200 for using the horn without a valid reason.