Everything You Need to Know About Right of Way Rules

Categories: Car Accidents

Everything You Need to Know About Right of Way Rules

When you’re driving, it’s important to be aware of the rules of the road. This will ensure that you and others get safely from point A to point B. 

Some of the most confusing rules are those associated with who has the right of way. They can get a little muddled, especially when no one ever explicitly taught them to you.  

It’s important to be aware of the laws regarding right of way. According to the Florida Department of Transportation, in 2017, there were 559 fatal incidents from failure to yield to right of way. 

Whether you’re a new driver or have been behind the wheels for years, you will benefit from this article! We will cover some of the most common right of way situations to make you a better, more educated driver.  

Stop Sign Right of Way 

Generally speaking, if you and another driver pull up to stop signs, the person who stopped last should yield. If you both stopped at the same time, the driver on the right has the right of way.  

Keep in mind that you’ll find stop signs at different kinds of intersections. Read on to learn more specifically about four-way stops, T-intersections, etc.  

Right of Way at Four-Way Stops 

The same rules we mentioned above apply at a four-way stop. You must yield to the driver who stopped first. If you both stopped simultaneously, the driver on the right goes first. 

Remember that those turning must yield to those going straight. Also, keep in mind that left turns have to yield to right turns. 

Both cars may go at the same time if they won’t be in each other’s way. For instance, if two cars stop opposite each other and are going straight, they can both go.  

It’s very important to use turn signals at four-way stops. This will help communicate who has to yield. It will also keep traffic flowing.  

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Right of Way at Uncontrolled Intersections

At uncontrolled intersections, there are no markings to indicate who has the right of way. 

In some states, you must treat uncontrolled intersections as four-way stops. If this isn’t the case in your area, slow down as you approach the intersection. If a car is already going through, let them pass before proceeding.  

Right of Way on Left Turns 

If you are turning left, you must yield to oncoming traffic and drivers turning right.  

Right of Way Entering or Exiting Highway 

Entering and exiting the highway can be stressful, especially for beginner drivers. Most states require you to yield to traffic already on the main road. Some states require both drivers to adjust their speed and proximity.  

When entering or exiting a highway, make sure to use your turn signal. This will let other drivers know you’re trying to get on or off, and they can adjust their speed or switch lanes accordingly. 

Right of Way at T-Intersections 

A T-intersection will have a stop side on one side and a perpendicular through road. When you are turning left, you must wait until traffic coming from both sides clears.   

If it’s a two-way road, and you are turning right, you can wait until just the traffic in your direction clears. Be wary of cars from the other direction making U-turns.   

When to Yield 

Here are some additional situations in which you must yield: 

  • To pedestrians with a seeing-eye dog or a white cane with or without a red tip. (Even if they are not in a crosswalk, you must yield to them.) 
  • When you are returning to the road from a parking spot.
  • When you’re on an unpaved road that converges with a paved road  

When Pedestrians Are Crossing 

It’s a popular misconception, but pedestrians do not have the right of way at all times. Technically, they only have it when they are crossing the street on a marked crosswalk.  

If they cross the road at any other point, they must yield to vehicles. That being said, you should still use caution when around pedestrians. They don’t have a vehicle’s casing to protect them. 

Dangers of Not Following Road Rules 

If you fail to follow the rules of the road, you could get into a car accident. This can leave you with a damaged vehicle and minor or even serious injuries. You may also face repair and medical costs, not to mention rising insurance rates and points on your license.  

Use Your Judgment 

You’re now familiar with the right of way rules! Unfortunately, not all drivers are.  

It’s important to be safe on the road by using your judgment. Even if you know it’s your turn to go, utilize your defensive driving skills to avoid accidents. By paying attention and communicating with other drivers, you will have a much safer time on the road!  

If you were an accident in Palm Beach County because another driver did not yield right of way, contact our team today. Demand More® for your troubles by calling Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers at 561-202-6673.  

Disclaimer: You should not take any information in this blog as legal advice in any situation. If you need expertise for a specific issue of yours, contact a qualified Personal Injury attorney.  


Florida DOT: https://flhsmv.gov/pdf/crashreports/crash_facts_2017.pdf

Brian D. Guralnick

About the Author: Brian D. Guralnick

Brian D. Guralnick has been successfully representing injured accident victims in Florida since 1993. He has been voted “Best of the Best” personal injury lawyer by the Palm Beach Post for multiple years. If you have been injured in any type of accident, please call Brian and his team 24/7 at 561-202-6673.