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Who Has the "Right-of-Way?"

When roads cross or meet with other features, rules must exist to determine who has the right to pass at what particular time. These laws determine who has the “right-of-way” to which other drivers must yield. The right-of-way comes into play at any intersection, crosswalk, or even on the open road when emergency vehicles need to pass. When right-of-way is not given in a situation where it should be, the driver who fails to yield dramatically reduces the chances of a potentially dangerous accident. To stay safe, be sure to follow the laws and grant the right of way when necessary.


  • When you reach an intersection, you must stop behind the limit line and yield to all other traffic with the right of way first as well as any pedestrians before proceeding.
  • Any vehicles in the intersection already when you reach the stop line have the right of way to continue to proceed first.
  • At a two-way stop, the vehicle who is turning must yield to the vehicle going straight.
  • When entering a highway from a secondary road, you must yield right-of-way to vehicles already on the highway and proceed only when it’s clear to do so.
  • When turning left at an unprotected traffic signal, you must yield to vehicles coming from the opposite direction first.
  • In a roundabout, people already in the traffic circle have the right of way, and those looking to enter must yield to them.
  • In a multi-lane roundabout, the right lane is for turning right or going straight (relative to your starting position). Use the inside lane to make a left turn or do a full U-turn.
  • If you’re coming out of a driveway or alley, you must yield to vehicles occupying the main road as well as any pedestrians crossing the driveway.


  • Pedestrians always have the right of way if they are crossing in a marked intersection, driveway, or crosswalk. All drivers must yield to them, and no part of your vehicle may be in the crosswalk at the same time as the pedestrian.
  • You may not pass a vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk.
  • You must yield to anyone using a crutch, cane, walker, or wheelchair, or anyone who is visually impaired or in any way incapacitated.
  • Cyclists are considered pedestrians and drivers must yield to them in the same way they would a person walking, including giving them a wide berth if they are riding on the streets.

Emergency Vehicles

  • An emergency vehicle using their siren and/or flashers automatically has the right-of-way over all drivers, who must yield to them.
  • Drivers who have the ability must pull to the right of the road and stop in order to allow them to pass.
  • Emergency vehicles have the right of away at all intersections, and all vehicles must yield to them, regardless of whether the signals or signs say they may proceed.

Failure to Yield

Failing to yield the right of way properly can result in some serious consequences. On the lesser end, you could be ticketed for a moving violation, which carries a $60 fine and places three points on your driver’s license. In turn, this could increase your insurance rates and make driving a lot more expensive.

However, failing to yield could also result in a dangerous car accident and serious injuries. Drivers expect those around them to know and follow the right-of-ways laws to maintain road safety, and failing to follow one can result in slamming on brakes, sudden swerving, or even a collision if there isn’t enough time to react. When an accident occurs because of this, the driver who failed to yield properly is considered to be at fault and liable for any damage or injuries that occur.

If you or a loved one have been injured by a driver who failed to yield the right-of-way, Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates can help you navigate your claim with confidence. We understand that you depend on your insurance company to give you the compensation you need to continue living comfortably while recovering from your accident, and we never settle for a sub-par conclusion when your well-being is on the line. We have helped numerous clients obtain the successful outcome they have needed in their case, and are not afraid to stand up to insurance companies on your behalf.

Call Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates today at 866-675-4427 to request a case evaluation and begin reviewing your legal options after your injury.