Intersections are formed where two or more roadways intersect. As this brings conflicting streams of traffic together, drivers using an intersection must rely on right-of-way laws to determine who goes first. Depending on the type of intersection you are dealing with, there may also be traffic control devices such as road signs or traffic lights present to keep traffic moving in a safe and coordinated fashion.
- Preparing to use an intersection
- Uncontrolled intersection right-of-way
- First in, first out
- Yield to the right
- Right-of-way when turning left
- Right-of-way on single- or two-lane roads
- Right-of-way on T-intersections
- Right-of-way on unpaved roads
- Right-of-way on driveways and private roads
- Controlled intersection right-of-way
- Intersections with a stop sign
- Four-way stop right-of-way
- Right-of-way at yield signs
- Right-of-way at traffic lights
- Red traffic lights
- Yellow traffic lights
- Right-of-way when traffic lights fail
Even on fully-controlled intersections that utilize these devices, right-of-way traffic laws will play a part in maintaining order. Nowhere are drivers more at risk, than when merging into a gap in traffic or crossing a conflicting stream of traffic. Both these maneuvers frequently occur at intersections. To choose a safe path through an intersection, motorists must understand right-of-way rules and learn to accurately judge the speed and location of other vehicles.
Preparing to use an intersection
Motorists preparing to drive through an intersection must consider various factors when determining who has right-of-way. Begin by establishing which lane you need to be in for your desired course of travel and merge into that lane as soon as possible. Then, scan the roadway around the intersection to answer the following questions:
Are there traffic control devices at the intersection? If so, these will determine the order in which different streams of traffic may enter the intersection.
2(Video) Right of Way at Intersection: Who Goes First and When to Yield
Are there any dedicated lanes? If you wish to turn, merging into a protected turn lane will minimize the potential for right-of-way conflicts.
Can you see all entrances and roads feeding into the intersection clearly? You may mistakenly think you are clear to move through the intersection if conflicting traffic is obscured by an obstacle.
How busy is the roadway? Vehicles to your front present the biggest hazard when approaching an intersection. Maintain a safe following distance in case vehicles ahead of you must slow down or stop at the intersection.
Uncontrolled intersection right-of-way
When there are no traffic lights or road signs controlling an intersection, drivers have only their knowledge of right-of-way rules to guide them. The following sections will talk you through the main rules to remember when establishing right-of-way without support from traffic control devices.
Remember, nobody lawfully has right-of-way unless another driver has yielded the right-of-way to them. Claiming the right-of-way by force because you believe the other driver should yield is not lawful and stands against the reason we have right-of-way rules: to facilitate the safe and orderly movement of traffic. If another driver takes right-of-way at an intersection – let them have it.
First in, first out
In most cases, vehicles will arrive at an intersection at different times. It is easy to establish who must yield in these circumstances, as the “first in, first out” rule applies. The driver who reaches the intersection first goes first; the second driver must yield until the first driver has completely cleared the intersection.
Yield to the right
This second essential right-of-way rule dictates who must yield when two or more vehicles arrive at an intersection in unison. When two cars arrive at the same time, motorists must yield the right-of-way to the vehicle to their right. If vehicles arrive at every entrance to the intersection simultaneously, eye-contact can be used to establish who will go first. If necessary, you can wave another driver through the intersection ahead of you.
“Yield to the right” does not mean you can automatically drive through the intersection if the roadway to your right is clear. Remember to watch out for vehicles approaching from the left and make sure they are going to yield before you proceed.
Right-of-way when turning left
If two vehicles approach an intersection from opposite directions and one wishes to drive straight through while the other wishes to turn left, the left-turning driver must yield. Ordinarily, opposing traffic could move through an intersection at the same time, providing there is no cross traffic. However, in this situation the left-turning driver’s path would cut directly across the opposing driver’s path. Any motorist seeking to turn left at an intersection, or into an alley, driveway or private road, must yield to oncoming traffic.
In general, traffic turning at an intersection should yield to traffic moving directly through the intersection. Of course, this does not necessarily apply when traffic control devices are present.
Right-of-way on single- or two-lane roads
If you are traveling on a single-lane or two-lane roadway that meets a wider road of three lanes or more, you must yield to all traffic on the broader roadway before proceeding. This is because the broader road is likely to be busier and more hazardous, making it harder for motorists on that road to yield right-of-way.
Right-of-way on T-intersections
For similar reasons, traffic approaching a through road from an ending road at a T-intersection must also yield. Often, the through road which forms the top of the “T” is a faster and more heavily traveled road. Even if this is not the case, it would be illogical and difficult for traffic on the through road to yield to adjoining traffic.
Right-of-way on unpaved roads
Where paved roadways intersect with unpaved roadways, motorists approaching the intersection from the unpaved road must yield to vehicles on the paved road.
Right-of-way on driveways and private roads
If seeking to enter the main road from a driveway, alley or private road, a motorist must yield to all traffic already on the main road and any pedestrian traffic wishing to cross the driveway’s entrance. When obstacles obstruct your view of the sidewalk in either direction, you should come to a full stop prior to the sidewalk to check for pedestrians before proceeding.
Motorists parked by the roadside who wish to re-enter traffic on the roadway must also yield to vehicles already using the roadway. If you intend to turn into a driveway or alley situated immediately after an intersection, do not begin to signal your turn until you have entered the intersection. Otherwise, you may confuse other road users.
Controlled intersection right-of-way
Right-of-way at controlled intersections is at least partially dictated by traffic control devices, such as road signs or traffic signals. It is important to remember that traffic control devices rarely resolve all potential conflicts, so right-of-way rules must still be factored in. For instance, a green traffic light may permit you to turn left at an intersection but unless that turn is protected, you will still need to yield to oncoming traffic.
The assistance provided by traffic control devices means that controlled intersections are generally safer than uncontrolled intersections. However, this is only the case if drivers remain vigilant. You must always check that the intersection is clear and that no other vehicles will interfere with your path of travel before proceeding, even if a road sign or traffic light indicates that you may go.
Some intersections are semi-controlled, in that stop signs are installed on certain roadways yet not on others. Exercise caution when entering an intersection from an uncontrolled entrance, as other vehicles may not yield the right-of-way as they should.
Intersections with a stop sign
Every motorist approaching an intersection entrance controlled by a “STOP” sign must come to a full stop and yield the right-of-way before proceeding. Keep in mind that traffic cops will cite you if they witness you performing a “rolling stop” at a stop sign-controlled intersection. “Full stop” means exactly that.
Many drivers do not realize that they must stop before entering a stop sign-controlled intersection, even when they have already stopped behind other motorists waiting to enter the intersection. When all vehicles ahead of you have passed through the intersection, you must still stop completely at the designated stop line or prior to the pedestrian crosswalk and yield to all conflicting traffic and pedestrians.
Four-way stop right-of-way
Intersections marked with a four-way stop sign should be treated like uncontrolled intersections. Motorists approaching the intersection at the same time must come to a complete stop and yield to the vehicles on their right before proceeding. Otherwise, the “first in, first out” rule applies.
Right-of-way at yield signs
Any motorist approaching a “YIELD” sign at an intersection entrance must yield the right-of-way, though is not required to come to a complete stop unless safety demands it. You may be cited for not stopping at an intersection – even when no “STOP” signs are present – if a traffic officer believes you should have stopped in the interest of safety. At yield sign-controlled intersections, drivers should stop to yield the right-of-way if another vehicle is occupying the intersection or is close enough to the intersection to pose a hazard.
Right-of-way at traffic lights
When traffic lights are used to control an intersection, it is usually resoundingly obvious who must yield the right-of-way. When facing a green light, drivers may proceed with caution but yield to opposing traffic when turning left (unless the turn is protected by a green arrow signal). Yellow lights tell drivers to stop if it is safe to do so, while red lights always mean stop. However, the way in which vehicles may proceed having stopped at a red light is determined by several other factors.
Red traffic lights
All student drivers must refer to their state’s driving manual for details concerning right-of-way rules at red traffic lights in their area. Though, the rules listed below apply in most cases:
- A solid red light indicates that traffic must wait until the light changes to green before entering the intersection.
- A flashing red light indicates that traffic may proceed one car at a time, as would be the case when facing a stop sign.
Most states permit turning right under a red traffic light, unless there is a “NO RIGHT TURN ON RED” sign posted at the intersection. Check out your driving handbook for details. Where right turns on red are allowed, drivers must still come to a complete stop and yield to all cross traffic and pedestrians before starting the turn. When turning left from a one-way street onto another one-way street, drivers are usually permitted to turn under a red traffic light.
Yellow traffic lights
Flashing yellow traffic lights are relatively rare and can sometimes confuse drivers. If you encounter this signal at an intersection, you must treat it the same way as a “YIELD” sign. This means yielding to all cross traffic and pedestrians, stopping if necessary and moving through the intersection with caution.
Right-of-way when traffic lights fail
What happens if you approach an intersection which is usually controlled by traffic lights, but the signals are inoperative? Such situations would be chaotic, if it weren’t for right-of-way rules. When traffic lights fail, any lane of traffic faced with an inoperative signal must treat that signal like a “STOP” sign. If every lane is facing an inoperative light, the intersection must be treated as a four-way stop intersection with each motorist stopping completely and yielding to their right.
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Who has the right of way at most intersections? ›
Without STOP or YIELD signs: The vehicle that arrives to the intersection first has the right-of-way. However, if a vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist gets to the intersection at the same time as you, give the right-of-way to the vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist on your right.Which car must yield right of way at this intersection both arrived at the same time? ›
If you reach an uncontrolled intersection at close to the same time, the vehicle who actually reached the intersection last is the driver who must yield the right of way. If you reach the intersection at the same time, the driver on the left should yield the right of way.Who must a driver yield the right of way to? ›
If no stop sign or traffic signal is present, a driver must yield the right of way to the vehicle arriving first to the intersection. If two or more cars come at the intersection simultaneously, the car on the right has the right of way.Who is responsible for yielding at traffic circle? ›
Understanding Right-of-Way Laws At Roundabouts
Vehicles entering the roundabout must yield to motorists and bicyclists who are already in the roundabout. When in the circle, do not stop to allow other motorists into the roundabout.
First in, first out
At an intersection, whoever arrives there first has the right of way, but it goes beyond that. According to the LTO, “at all intersections without 'stop' or 'yield' signs, slow down and prepare to stop. Yield to vehicles already in the intersection or about to enter it”.
In the instance you arrive at an intersection at the same time with another car, the vehicle on your right hand side will have the right of way. You should allow cars turning left across the lanes to go first, provided that the driver is visibly signalling its intention to turn.Who has the right of way when two vehicles coming from different direction approaches and intersection at almost the same time? ›
2) If two cars get to an intersection at the same time, the one to the right has right of way. So both of you reach the intersection simultaneously. If the other driver is crossing from the right side, you must give way.When you can't determine who arrived at an intersection first yield to the vehicle? ›
As a general rule, you should yield to cars that are already at the intersection. Whoever arrives at the intersection first gets to go first. And similar to stop sign etiquette, you should yield to the car on your right when in doubt.
If two cars arrived at the same time, the vehicle on the right has the right of way. Left turns – Vehicles that are making left turns must always yield the right of way to oncoming traffic.Does the right of way must be yielded? ›
Right of Way at Intersections
Failing to yield the right of way is a common cause of intersection accidents. If there are traffic signals, always obey the traffic lights. When approaching an intersection that does not have traffic lights, vehicles must yield the right of way to vehicles already in the intersection.
What is the proper way to yield? ›
The yield sign is a regulatory sign. At a yield sign, drivers must slow down and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and vehicles that are approaching from another direction. If a yield line is painted on the pavement, the drivers must yield the right-of-way before crossing the yield line.Should a driver yield the right of way if a pedestrian enters the crossing? ›
When turning at a road intersection, always give way to pedestrians who are crossing. Before you pull out of a parking position, look behind, signal your intention and make sure you can do so safely with no inconvenience to other road users.When entering a traffic circle you must first yield to? ›
Whether it's a traffic circle or a roundabout, you're supposed to slow down before entering and yield to traffic, including cyclists, already in the roundabout. Because traffic flows counter-clockwise, you'll yield to traffic approaching on your left, he said.When approaching a roundabout a driver must yield to traffic coming from the? ›
Vehicle operators should always yield at the entry to circulating traffic. In practice, that means yield to traffic from the left, similar to the action that is necessary when entering a freeway or turning right at a red traffic light/signal.When you are turning left you must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic True or false? ›
Drivers turning left must yield to oncoming vehicles going straight. At a four-way stop, the driver reaching the intersection first may proceed before the other drivers (after coming to a complete stop). Drivers entering a road from a driveway, alley, or roadside must yield to vehicles already on the main road.Who has right of way at a crossroads both turning right? ›
When emerging from a crossroads, oncoming traffic has right of way over traffic that's turning right. Even if you don't have priority, the other driver may want you to proceed before them, so try to watch carefully and work out what they are planning.Who has right of way at a junction? ›
Rule 172. The approach to a junction may have a 'Give Way' sign or a triangle marked on the road. You MUST give way to traffic on the main road when emerging from a junction with broken white lines across the road.What should you do if you found out upon approaching an intersection? ›
At an intersection without signs or lights, you must yield the right-of-way to a vehicle approaching the intersection before you, and if you arrive at the same time, the vehicle approaching from the right has the right-of-way (Diagram 2-18).Which vehicle gets to go first? ›
Vehicles travelling straight on or turning left have priority. That means that drivers turning right will have to wait for a gap in the traffic before making their turn.What are the give way rules at a intersection? ›
When going straight through at an intersection, you must give way to: All vehicles coming straight through from your right. If you are turning right and the opposing vehicle is turning left, you must give way.
What are the rules on right of way? ›
Yield to vehicles already in the intersection or about to enter it. At all intersections without “stop” or “yield” signs (or with stops signs in all directions). Yield to the vehicle on your right if it has reached the intersection of same time as your vehicle. Stop at any limit line or crosswalk.When two vehicles arrive at an intersection at the same time which one has the right of way when no signs or signals indicate rules Ohio? ›
7. When two vehicles arrive at an intersection at the same time, which one has the right-of-way when no signs or signals indicate rules? The car approaching from the right has the right of way.When two cars get to a 4 way stop intersection at the same time which car should be yielded the right of way? ›
At four-way, three-way, or two-way stop intersections, the car that reaches and stops at the intersection first has the right of way. When two cars arrive at the same time, the car on the right has the right of way. Any car turning left must yield right of way to cars going straight or turning right.When two vehicles approach an uncontrolled intersection at about the same time who must yield? ›
The rules of the road
A driver proceeding through an uncontrolled intersection must yield to a vehicle to their right, as that vehicle has the right of way even though the two vehicles arrived at the same time.
Regardless of whether the intersection is controlled or uncontrolled, there are basic rules for approaching any intersection: LOOK BOTH WAYS PRIOR TO PROCEEDING — Look left first because cars approaching from your left are closer to you and are an Immediatee hazard to your continued safe travel.When an intersection has no traffic signs or signals you arrive at the same time as a vehicle to your right you should? ›
Generally, when two vehicles approach an intersection not controlled by a traffic signal light, the vehicle arriving first has the right of way. However, if the vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right-of-way.When two vehicles arrive at an intersection from different directions and the traffic light is not working which vehicle has the right of way? ›
Traffic lights not working
If 2 vehicles approach the intersection from different roadways at the same time, the driver on the left must yield the right-of-way to the vehicle to his or her immediate right.
Right-of-Way Laws at Intersections. When two vehicles reach an intersection at the same time, the vehicle on the right has the right of way.What happens when car A and car B reach the intersection at the same time? ›
The vehicle that arrived first has the right-of-way. If two or more vehicles arrive at roughly the same time, drivers on the left must yield to drivers on the right. If you are turning left, yield to oncoming traffic even if you arrived first. Yield to traffic and pedestrians already in or about to enter the ...When two drivers stop at the same time at an intersection the driver in the right should go first? ›
When two drivers stop at the same time at an intersection, the driver on the right should go first. The posted maximum speed limit is safe for any driving conditions. A diamond-shaped sign warns drivers of conditions such as a divided highway or deer crossing.
In what 4 situations must a driver yield the right of way? ›
At 'T' intersections where you must yield to vehicles on the through road; When turning left in which case you must yield to oncoming pedestrians, cars, etc.; When driving on an unpaved road that intersections with a paved road; and. When returning to the roadway after the car is parked.Who should yield the right of way to you? ›
When there are no signs or signals, drivers must yield right of way to any other vehicle to their right. When a single- or two-lane road intersects with a multi-lane road, traffic on the single- or two-lane road yields right of way to traffic on the bigger highway.Which a driver should always yield the right of way? ›
Without STOP or YIELD signs: The vehicle that arrives to the intersection first has the right-of-way. However, if a vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist gets to the intersection at the same time as you, give the right-of-way to the vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist on your right.What is the yield and how is it determined? ›
Yield is the income on an investment over a period of time. It is calculated by taking interest or dividends earned by the investment, then dividing them by the value of the investment.Is yield the same as give way? ›
In road transport, a yield or give way sign indicates that merging drivers must prepare to stop if necessary to let a driver on another approach proceed. A driver who stops or slows down to let another vehicle through has yielded the right of way to that vehicle.How do I make my yield higher? ›
- Add reagents dropwise if necessary.
- Continuously stir thoroughly.
- Carefully keep temperature of reaction and liquid reagents at the correct level during addition and reaction.
- Monitor your reaction carefully throughout the experiment.
4136, Article III, Section 42 (c) states that the driver of any vehicle must yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing any road as long as they are within a crosswalk. That's unless there's a traffic enforcer or traffic signal in place then the movement of traffic will be determined by the enforcer or stop light.Who must yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing within a crosswalk? ›
(a) THE DRIVER OF A VEHICLE SHALL YIELD THE RIGHT-OF-WAY TO A PEDESTRIAN CROSSING THE ROADWAY WITHIN ANY MARKED CROSSWALK OR WITHIN ANY UNMARKED CROSSWALK AT AN INTERSECTION, EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN THIS SECTION.Does pedestrian have the right of way? ›
From January 2022 a pedestrian waiting to cross should be given priority. Previously, drivers were told to give way to pedestrians if they 'have started crossing and traffic wants to turn into the road'. The change also appears in the revised Rule 170.Who goes first at a traffic circle? ›
On approaching a traffic circle/roundabout, slow down or stop and always give right of way to traffic coming from your right. In other words: right go – left stay. Traffic circles or roundabouts are usually found at busy crossings to assist in traffic flow by giving way to the right.
Who yields in a two lane traffic circle? ›
When entering the roundabout, yield to traffic in all lanes of the roundabout, as they have the right-of-way. Failing to yield to traffic in both lanes may cause a collision with a vehicle within the roundabout. Do not change lanes inside a roundabout, even when exiting.What is failure to yield? ›
A failure to yield accident occurs when a driver fails to yield the road appropriately, causing a crash. What makes these accidents different from many other types of crashes is that often the injury victim drives into the car that fails to yield.When you are turning left you must yield the right of way to oncoming? ›
When you are turning left, you must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. At a four-way stop, drivers arriving at the same time should yield the right of way to the driver on the right. Who must yield at T-intersections? At a T-intersection, the right of way belongs to the drivers on the through street.Who has the first right of way when two vehicles coming from different direction approaches an intersection at almost the same time? ›
2) If two cars get to an intersection at the same time, the one to the right has right of way. So both of you reach the intersection simultaneously. If the other driver is crossing from the right side, you must give way.What are the intersection laws in Washington state? ›
Obey any directions and yield to law enforcement and/or emergency personnel/vehicles. If two vehicles enter an intersection at the same time, the vehicle on the left must yield right-of-way to the vehicle on the right. (If at different times, the vehicle who entered first has right-of-way).Who has the right of way at an intersection in Washington? ›
A statute provides that when two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different streets or roadways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right.Who has right of way at traffic lights? ›
If no pedestrians are present, then vehicle drivers have priority over all other vehicles. When two cars arrive at a green light together, the car on the left goes first to avoid continuous acceleration and deceleration as turning movements are made.Whose right of way is it at at Junction? ›
Rule 172. The approach to a junction may have a 'Give Way' sign or a triangle marked on the road. You MUST give way to traffic on the main road when emerging from a junction with broken white lines across the road.What is the basic rule within the intersection? ›
2) If two cars get to an intersection at the same time, the one to the right has right of way. So both of you reach the intersection simultaneously. If the other driver is crossing from the right side, you must give way.What does the law require you to do upon approaching an intersection? ›
Yield to the vehicle on your right if it has reached the intersection of same time as your vehicle. Stop at any limit line or crosswalk. Yield to all approaching vehicles on the through street, go only when it is safe for you to cross. Approaching vehicles should slow down and allow you to get across safely.
What must you do at an intersection? ›
Come to a full stop and leave enough space between you and the vehicle stopped ahead of you so that you can steer around it if it were to become disabled. When the light turns green, scan the intersection before you move forward - Take your time to ensure that the intersection is all yours.Who has the right of way at an intersection quizlet? ›
You must yield the right-of-way to the vehicle that reached the intersection first. When more than one vehicle reaches the intersection at the same time the vehicle on the left must yield the right-of-way and allow the vehicle on the right to go first.What does yield ahead mean? ›
Things to remember. “Yield” means let other road users go first. It's not just other cars. Don't forget about bicycles and pedestrians. Unlike with stop signs, drivers aren't required to come to a complete stop at a yield sign and may proceed without stopping -- provided that it is safe to do so.Who usually has the right of way at a T intersection quizlet? ›
At a T-intersections, the vehicle on the side street must wait and yield right of way. Vehicles entering the traffic circle shall yield to vehicles already in the intersection. Vehicles must yield the right of way to police, fire and rescue vehicles using a siren or flashing lights.Who has more priority when traffic lights are out of order? ›
Who has priority when traffic lights are out of order? When traffic lights are out of order, you should treat the junction as an unmarked crossroads which means that no one has priority. You shouldn't assume you have the right to go and you'll need to prepare to give way or stop.Who has priority at a cross road? ›
At an unmarked crossroads no one has priority. If there are no road signs or markings do not assume that you have priority. Remember that other drivers may assume they have the right to go. No type of vehicle has priority but it's courteous to give way to large vehicles.Which vehicle goes first? ›
Drivers on a main road have priority over drivers on a minor road. Vehicles travelling straight on or turning left have priority. That means that drivers turning right will have to wait for a gap in the traffic before making their turn.Who has right of way at a cross junction of equal importance? ›
At a crossroads of EQUAL importance you must give way to traffic on your RIGHT and traffic already moving at the junction. You must proceed with caution while showing regard for other road users.Who has priority at T-junction? ›
A T-junction is where a minor road joins a major road. As a rule, the road going straight ahead, along the top of the 'T', has priority. The minor road with either have a: Stop sign and road markings.Does the priority to the right rule apply at this junction? ›
The sign Junction is sometimes posted to clarify that the priority-to-the-right rule is to be applied. The priority-to-the-right rule does not only apply in junctions, but any time vehicles cross paths.