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Traffic Q&A: 2 lanes for right turns? Indeed

Question: Gig Harbor has a traffic light northbound on Point Fosdick Drive that has two right-turn-only lanes onto Olympic Drive, which leads to state Route 16. During a red light on Point Fosdick, traffic in the far right lane stops and turns right if it’s clear. But traffic in the second right turn lane waits for the light to turn green.

Is it not permissible to turn right from both right-turn lanes if the traffic is clear?

If it is, then you should get the word out to Gig Harbor residents. It’s quite frustrating being behind someone who’s waiting for the green light and traffic in the far right lane is whizzing by you making their free right turns. — Tom Gonzalez, Gig Harbor

Answer: OK, Gig Harbor residents. Are you listening? It’s OK to turn right from both of those lanes.

Washington State Patrol trooper Guy Gill says you’ll find the traffic lights are red arrows at intersections like that. They apply to both lanes, he says.

“You can make a right turn from either right-turn-only lane unless it’s otherwise posted,” Gill said.

Here’s how RCW 46.61.055 (Traffic Control Signal Legend) puts it: “Vehicle operators facing a steady red arrow indication may, after stopping, proceed to make a right turn ... unless a sign posted by competent authority prohibits such movement.”

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