Here’s When You Can Legally Turn Left on Red in Colorado
Everybody knows the rules about turning right on a red light, but left turns on red can be confusing.
Colorado Has Been Turning Right On Red Since 1967
By now, Coloradans are used to making right turns on a red light. We've been doing it since 1967 and everyone seems to understand how it works. You stop at the red light and if the way is clear - and no signage prohibits a right turn on red, you're free to make the right turn and get on your way.
Right Turns On Red Led To Left Turns On Red
In the 70s, right turns at red lights became the standard across the nation in response to the gas shortage of 1973. It was seen as a way for Americans to save gas. Somewhere along the way, someone had the brilliant idea that if right turns on a red light was a good idea, turning left on red light might also be a good idea. However, not everyone understands the concept.
Left Turns On Red Lights Made Simple
The good news is that turning left on a red light isn't rocket science. It's pretty straightforward. In Colorado, you can turn left on a red light if you are turning from a one-way street onto a one-way street. You stop, check for traffic, and then proceed. In some instances, there may be signage that specifically prohibits the left turn on red, otherwise, you are good to go.
Grand Junction's Classic Example of Left Turn On Red
Grand Junction doesn't have that many one-way streets so this occurrence is rarely seen. The only one I can think of is at 4th and Pitkin. Most people get it, but, it can be frustrating to sit behind someone who doesn't understand the law, and they wait endlessly for the light to change rather than make the left turn on red.
You Can Turn Left On Red From Either Lane
Some people think you can only turn left from the farthest left lane on 5th Street. But, the reality is, since it is one-way to one-way you can make the left turn from either lane. You just have to make sure you have enough time and distance to safely make the turn.
Hopefully, this clears up the confusion on left turns on red lights in Colorado. The main thing is to do it safely. Stop, look, and turn.