The law does not determine who has the right of ways. Instead, it only gives direction to who does not have the right of way. The safest option for every driver is to never assume that you have the right of way, and yield to other drivers. If you do not yield, your chances of a crash are much higher. Consider a four way stop for example. These are required stops because drivers coming from any direction to the stop cannot see down every street connected to the stop. Though it’s obvious that anyone approaching a four way stop is required to make a full halt at the stop sign and yield to anyone who has arrived at the intersection first, this doesn’t always happen.
The same can be said about an intersection with traffic lights. The lights direct who may drive and in which directions, either to go straight or make a left or right turn, but sometimes drivers do not obey the traffic lights.
Whenever you drive, remember that you need to be as aware of other drivers as you are of your own driving. You should never assume that you have the right of way as this could lead to a car crash.
If there are pedestrians present, yield to them in these situations:
- when they are crossing at any intersection without a traffic light, whether or not the intersection has a crosswalk
- when they are crossing the roadway in marked crosswalks, whether or not at an intersection
- when they are walking on a sidewalk crossing a driveway or alley
- when the driver is turning a corner and pedestrians are crossing with the light – you do not have the right of way even though you are making a right turn if there are pedestrians crossing the road
Note: Drivers are required to yield to any pedestrian who is blind and carrying a white cane or being led by a guide dog.
Other situations in which the driver must yield:
- A driver making a left turn must yield to any oncoming traffic driving straight ahead.
- In a circular intersection, or roundabout, all drivers who are entering the circle must yield to drivers who are already within the circle.
- When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different roads at the same time, drivers coming from the left must yield to drivers coming from the right.
- When entering a main road or public highway from an alley, driveway, or private road must yield to any traffic on the main road and wait until the road is clear to enter.
- At a four way stop, every vehicle must come to a full stop. The first vehicle to reach the intersection is the first vehicle which has the right of way to move. If two vehicles reach the intersection at the same time, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right. If both vehicles which have reached a four way stop intersection are on opposite sides, both drivers may move to opposing sides together, but each person must be aware of possible turns.