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Based on the 2024 Driver Handbook

If you are in the intersection when the light turns red:

If you are in the intersection when the light turns red:

  1. Make a u-turn.
  2. Stop until the light turns green.
  3. Reverse back behind the limit line. 
  4. Proceed through when traffic clears.

Find the answer to this question and an explanation below. 


This question, or a similar one, may show up on your driver’s license written exam. 

The answer is: D. Proceed through when traffic clears.

Did you get it right? Learn more about this answer below. 

Explanation: What to do if the light turns red when you are in the intersection?

In order to pass your DMV exams and to become a safe driver, it’s important to know the reason why a particular answer on the written test is correct. 

If you are already in the intersection when the light turns red, you should proceed through the intersection when it is safe to do so. 

The most common time you’ll find yourself in this situation is when you have entered the intersection and are waiting to make an unprotected left turn

In situations where there is a constant flow of traffic approaching from the opposite direction, you may not have a chance to turn until the light changes. 

There are some caveats to this rule however. First, you are never legally allowed to block an intersection. 

If you see that there is not enough room on the other side of the intersection, you should not proceed until the way is clear. 

Additionally, if you enter an intersection after the light has changed to red, you can receive a ticket for a moving violation. 

If your light has changed to green when there are still vehicles in the intersection, you should wait until they are able to clear out of the way before you continue. 

You can find more information about this topic in the section about intersections and traffic signals in your driver’s handbook.

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