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What Yielding the Right of Way Means


For many drivers, the idea of the right-of-way can simply be a reference to the requirement that one needs to obey all traffic laws, including those at a controlled intersection. Understanding what the obligation to yield means can help keep you and your family safe. One of the most common causes of car accidents that personal injury attorneys hear is the other driver’s failure to yield.

What Does Yielding the Right of Way Mean?

However, yielding to the right-of-way does not just refer to instances at a controlled intersection, but also for every aspect of driving, whether one is on a rural road facing a dead-end, or whether one is merging onto a multi-lane highway. There are two pivotal reasons why you should understand how one should yield when it comes to the idea of who has the right of way.

  • Traffic tickets can be given to those who violate traffic laws regarding right-of-way, even at an intersection that has no signals, yield signs, or stop signs. In addition, tickets can also be handed down to drivers who do not follow proper yielding to the right-of-way protocol at stoplights that are inoperable or four stop signs that are facing each other.
  • Failure to yield to the right-of-way can cause potential traffic accidents that will range in their level of severity. Some accidents can simply result in a minor fender bender, while a more serious truck accident involving a failure to yield can result in a prolonged stay at the hospital, even wrongful death.

Thus, it is imperative that one understands when one has the right-of-way, and when one should instead yield to the other drivers on the road. Failing to yield the ROW is one of the main causes of car wrecks.

Tips For Determining Right of Way

To determine who has the right-of-way when driving, consider the following guidelines to better understand the rules of the road:

  • When in a controlled intersection with stop signs or traffic signs, always obey the given visual signal!
  • In intersections that are not controlled, yield to any cars that are already at the intersection. If you and another vehicle arrive at the intersection at the same time, yield to the car on the right. (see illustration above).
  • When approaching an intersection with multiple-lane roads, such as a one-lane, two-lane, or lane that intersects with a larger road, all drivers on the smaller road must yield to cars that are on the larger or multi-lane road.
  • When approaching a T-intersection, where one road ends in a dead through a street, the driver on the dead-end road must yield to traffic on the other, normal-sided, street.
  • When approaching a highway exit ramp, the driver on the access road must yield to cars on the exit ramp. Regardless of whether the traffic leaving the freeway will merge into a separate lane, one must still yield to cars on the exit ramp.
  • The right-of-way must also be given to pedestrians in a crosswalk, persons that are using a seeing-eye guide dog, and persons that are using a white cane, whether or not it has a white tip.

Remember, you should never assume that the other driver or pedestrian will utilize the rules of the road! Just because eye contact is made does not mean the other individual will give you the right-of-way.

Be safe, assume the worst, and if you are a friendly driver, sometimes letting the other car go first is the safe approach, even if it is your right to go first.

Thus, along with ensuring that you follow these guidelines, it is also essential that you the appropriate caution when necessary!

Always remember it is better to always drive friendly, and arrive safely than to be right and be in a car accident that was not your fault!

If you were hurt in a Houston car accident, call (281) 587-1111 for a no-obligation consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer in Houston


Call Baumgartner Law Firm Accident & Injury Lawyers (281) 587-1111

Greg Baumgartner

attorney greg baumgartner

Greg Baumgartner has practiced personal injury law since 1984. He holds not one but two law degrees and is a graduate of Trial Lawyers College. He is licensed in Texas and Colorado. Mr. Baumgartner has earned a reputation for exemplary results for his clients. And has been preeminent rated for decades and recognized by Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Super Lawyers, Expertise, Newsweek, Houstonia magazine, and many others. He has given educational talks to lawyers and many media interviews regarding personal injury cases.