“Ask The Chief” allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

Submit your question to askthe.policechief@ci.red-wing.mn.us.

Q: I commute daily from Wisconsin, the “new” stoplight coming off the bridge, I have noticed many times that people forget that it is illegal to turn right on a red right turn arrow. I have had people honk repeatedly when I wait for the green light to make my right hand turn. Is there a reason that intersection cannot have a regular red light instead of the red arrow, so that if no cars are coming from downtown, a safe right turn could be made?

A: Thank you for your question. As you have indicated, vehicular traffic facing a solid red arrow must remain stopped at the intersection until a “permissive” signal is received (green, flashing yellow, or flashing red) as indicated in Minnesota Statute 169.06 Signs, Signals and Markings.

This is a good reminder that traffic signal lights, whether indicated by arrow or round signal, follow the following definition:

  • solid green, may proceed through or turn in the direction indicated by solid green arrow;
  • solid red arrow, must stop and remain in place until a permissible light is presented;
  • solid red, may turn right only after coming to a complete stop and if the intersection is clear for you to do so safely;

  • solid yellow, movement is being terminated or that a red indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter (in other words, prepare to stop).
  • Flashing red indicates that you must stop for the intersection/signal and proceed if clear to do so;
  • flashing yellow, drivers should yield to other traffic and only proceed in the direction indicated when safe to do so.

You also mentioned that when you are stopped, other motorists are using their horn repeatedly. Minnesota Statute 169.68 Horns, Siren states that a driver may “when reasonably necessary to ensure safe operation, give audible warning with the horn, but shall not otherwise use the horn when upon a highway.”

We have requested the Minnesota Department of Transportation to review this intersection to see if round traffic signals or the current traffic arrows are most effective in this area.



References

1. Minnesota Statute 169.06 Signs, Signals and Markings. Located online at: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/2019/cite/169.06

2. Minnesota Statute 169.68, Horns, Sirens, located online at https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/169.68