What Does Yielding The Right Of Way Mean?

Categories: Car Accidents

Most people understand what to do when approaching a yield sign, but most have not studied the right-of-way rules since obtaining their driver’s license.

Every driver is undoubtedly capable of yielding the right of way, yet failing to yield the right of way properly is one of the most common causes of car accidents.

If you were involved in an accident, it may be essential to understand who had the right of way. Keep reading to learn more about the rules for appropriately yielding the right of way.

What does Yielding the Right of Way Mean?

At the core, yielding the right of way means allowing another vehicle to enter an intersection before you enter the same intersection. The entire point of yielding the right of way is to reduce the risk of a car accident, especially in areas not controlled by traffic lights.

When to Yield the Right of Way

The State of Florida has specific statutes to define when and how to yield the right of way. According to Florida Statutes 316.125 and 316.121, drivers should yield:

  • If they are exiting a driveway, alleyway, or private road and merging onto a crossroad
  • If they are approaching an intersection where another driver has arrived before them
  • If they are approaching an intersection at the exact moment as another driver who is to their right-hand side
  • If they are approaching a county or city-maintained road from an unpaved road

As a best practice, if you are about to enter an intersection and you have any doubt about who has the right of way, it is essential to yield to the other driver until the roadway is safe and free of vehicles.

Why It’s Important to Yield the Right of Way

There is no more dangerous place for a driver than an intersection. When multiple roadways converge from several directions, it creates an inherently dangerous situation if drivers fail to yield the right of way properly.

It is no wonder that approximately 40% of all accidents occur at an intersection. Intersections don’t just pose a risk to drivers—passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists can also be vulnerable to injury at an intersection.

Consequently, understanding and adhering to right-of-way laws can significantly reduce your risk of an accident. Failure to yield the right of way can lead to devastating results for you and others.

Who has the Right of Way?

Whether you realize it or not, when you operate a vehicle, you must make hundreds of split-second decisions to keep yourself and your occupants safe. Making the correct decision about the right of way can depend on the type of intersection you are approaching, the timing of your arrival at an intersection, and whether all drivers are correctly signaling with indicator lights.

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Red Lights:

When approaching a yellow light, pay close attention to traffic ahead of you. The law provides that drivers with yellow lights have the right of way, so it is possible to move through an intersection even though a light is yellow. However, once the light turns red, you no longer have the right of way, so you must not travel through an intersection on a red light.

Flashing Red Lights:

Flashing red lights function in the same fashion as a stop sign. Make sure you come to a complete stop and look both ways to ensure that other vehicles or pedestrians have not entered before you proceed through an intersection with a flashing red light.

Stop Signs:

Some intersections have a stop sign at each corner, which requires all drivers to come to a complete halt before proceeding. These intersections are called “all-way” or “four-way” stops. The first driver to arrive at the intersection has the right of way, but if two or more drivers arrive simultaneously, the driver on the right-hand side has the right of way. Other intersections may only have stop signs for vehicles moving in opposing directions.

No Signs:

When you approach an intersection without any signs, it may be challenging to determine who has the right of way. Anyone emerging from a driveway or parking lot onto a street without signage should yield to others.

How Can Someone Violate a Right of Way?

Violating a right of way refers to an instance where a driver proceeds through an intersection when they do not have the legal right of way. For example, if a driver runs a red light or proceeds through a stop sign, the driver has technically violated right-of-way laws.

At a minimum, violating right-of-way laws could result in a citation. At worst, failing to adhere to the right of way laws can cause accidents, serious injuries, and even death.

Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you are recently licensed or a seasoned driver, refreshing your understanding of right-of-way laws is always good. If you were involved in an accident at an intersection, it may result from someone failing to follow right-of-way laws.

What Should You Do if You Get Hit by a Car That Didn’t Yield?

The decisions you make after a car crash can shape your future. If you or someone else involved in the accident has suffered an injury, your first step should always be to seek medical assistance. You should also make sure that you contact law enforcement to report the accident.

The responding officer will create a police report to memorialize what occurred in the accident, sometimes even noting who had the right of way and who failed to yield the right of way properly.

You should always consider contacting an attorney if you or a loved one has gotten injured because another driver negligently failed to yield the right of way at an intersection. An unexpected injury can cost you thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.

Working with experienced injury lawyers, like our Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers team, can ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

What If You Don’t Yield?

The same analysis applies even in cases where you are the driver who failed to yield properly at an intersection. You may face a citation, and your insurance company may be responsible for paying for any damages you cause.

Failing to yield the right of way at an intersection can cause serious accidents that are easily preventable. Do your best to obey all traffic laws and avoid expensive and severe mistakes.

Final Thoughts

If you get injured in an automobile accident caused by someone’s failure to yield the right of way, you should contact our team here at Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers today! We have more than three decades of experience providing personalized legal guidance to victims of accidents.

We have successfully pursued hundreds of auto accident and personal injury claims and recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for our clients. Reach out to us today to schedule a free case consultation and learn why you deserve to Demand More!

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.