Korea tip of the day photo

(Stripes Korea)

Navigating traffic laws is crucial when driving in Korea. As traffic laws are updated every year, some can be confusing. The following laws below are important to note, as they are frequently enforced by the police. Moreover, there are numerous enforcement cameras installed throughout Korea, so there are more chances of receiving a traffic violation.

Below are frequently overlooked traffic laws to remember before you get behind the wheel.

Stop when turning right at intersections

Due to an increase in traffic accidents caused by right-turning vehicles, a traffic law for a mandatory stop at intersections has been enforced since 2022. Penalty for a violation is a fine of up to 100,000 won and 15 penalty points.

  • Red light: Regardless of pedestrians, drivers must make a full stop at the stop line. Then, after ensuring the way is clear of oncoming traffic and pedestrians, a right turn can be made.

Red light

Red light (Korean National Police Agency)

  • Green light: When there are no pedestrians, drivers can make the right turn very slowly. Drivers must yield to pedestrians on the crosswalk.

Green light

Green light (Korean National Police Agency)

  • Intersections with a right-turn signal: When a right turn signal is installed at intersections, drivers must follow the signals. This means drivers can only make a right turn when the green arrow appears on the signal and cannot proceed if the light is red.

School Zone

School zone traffic sign

School Zone (Korean National Police Agency)

School zones are designated sections within a 300-meter distance around kindergartens, elementary schools and hagwon private educational institutions. These zones are very common and traffic violations within them come with stricter punishments.

The speed limit in school zones is 20 or 30 km/h, with some areas allowing an increase to 40-50 km/h only during the night. Even when there are no pedestrians around, drivers must comply with the speed limit and make full stops at all crosswalks within the school zones. Be extra careful as these zones tend to have enforcement cameras monitoring traffic at all times. Parking in school zones is also prohibited.

Besides practicing extra caution in school zones, apps like Naver and Kakao Map can provide driving assistance and speed limit warnings to help you navigate the areas safely.

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