Understanding the right of way is a critical element in keeping everyone on the road safe, whether it is a fellow driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian. Combined with common sense, being educated on right-of-way laws will help prevent you from getting involved in avoidable accidents. This sounds easy enough, but according to a Federal Highway Traffic Safety Administration (FHTSA) study, at least two-thirds of drivers do not stop and yield the right-of-way at intersections. It is also important to understand that insisting on the right-of-way is generally not safe and yielding to the other driver can often prevent an accident if that person is clearly not observing the rules of the road.
Here are some things you should know to help determine who has the right of way:
- Follow all road signs: If you find yourself at a stop or yield sign, you must follow it. Not only is it against the law to ignore these signs, but it can also cause an accident. Other drivers will not assume you are going to disobey the law and will continue to drive forward if they have the right of way.
- Pedestrians in crosswalks always have the right-of-way: No matter what, when you see a pedestrian in a crosswalk, you must stop and yield to them, even if you happen to have the right-of-way.
- When pulling out of a parking space or entering through traffic, yield to drivers on the road: This applies even if you are pulling out of a driveway or small alley.
- On the highway, merging drivers yield to oncoming traffic: While merging cars should yield the right-of-way to other drivers as they enter the freeway, both cars should make an effort to adjust speed to prevent an accident.
- If you come to a four-way stop, the driver who arrives first should proceed first after stopping: To avoid any confusion and to prevent accidents, always allow the car that first arrived to go first.
- If two roads cross and there are no stoplights or signs, the driver on the smaller road must yield to cars on the multi-lane road: If you are driving on a dirt road and trying to enter a paved road, this concept also applies.
- At a roundabout, yield to cars already in the circle: This is similar to a four-way stop and the right-of-way likewise moves right.
Ventura Car Accident Lawyers
At Haffner Law Group, APC, we represent drivers and passengers who have been injured by negligent individuals in Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Los Angeles Counties. If you were harmed in a motor vehicle accident caused by another party’s negligence, you have a right to pursue compensation.