You were given a citation when you drove through a red light. You were making a right-hand turn and knew that there was no one heading your way, but the police state that you violated the law.

South Carolina law does require that you make a complete stop at a red light. Once you do, then you can make a right turn on the red light as long as there is no signage prohibiting you from doing so. It’s important that you yield to vehicles that have the right of way and avoid turning right without fully stopping.

Why is a full stop necessary when making a right-hand turn?

There are a few reasons why it’s a good idea to stop before turning right on red. For instance, it gives you more time to look around and make sure you are clear to go. You should look to the right to make sure no pedestrians are crossing into the intersection and look ahead to see if anyone’s making a left-hand turn from the opposite side of the road. Of course, you also want to look to the left to be certain that no one is traveling toward you in the lane that you’ll be turning into. You are supposed to stop so that you can assess the situation and make the most prudent decision about how to proceed.

A full stop also reduces your speed. If you do happen to hit a person or another vehicle, the crash is more likely to be minor than if you were turning to the right without decelerating.

It’s important to stop at a red light regardless of the circumstances. However, if you are accused of failing to stop and you believe that you did, you should contact an experienced traffic attorney to better defend yourself and fight the citation.