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Intersections & Right of Way

Respecting others' right of way and using caution when proceeding through intersections is necessary as a motorist to create a safe environment for everyone.

Use this guide to learn the right-of-way basics and help promote traffic safety on the road.

Intersections

An intersection is any point when one road meets another. Examples of intersections include:

  • Cross streets.
  • Side streets.
  • Freeway entrances.
  • Roundabouts

Since your chances of a collision increase in an intersection, it's important to proceed with caution. Here are a few rules you should follow:

  • When crossing an intersection without a stop or yield sign, decrease your speed and be ready to stop if necessary.
    • Yield to pedestrians, cyclists, or other vehicles already in the intersection.
  • When making a right-hand turn:
    • Check for pedestrians crossing the street before proceeding.
    • Look for cyclists on your right.
    • Yield to drivers going straight.
  • When making a left-hand turn:
    • Always give the right-of-way to approaching vehicles that do not have stop or yield signs.
    • Yield to drivers going straight.
    • Yield to pedestrians and cyclists crossing the street.
  • When in roundabouts:
    • Yield to all traffic already in the circle.
    • Enter only when there is a gap in traffic.
    • Watch for pedestrians in crosswalks.

Right of Way

As a common courtesy and to create a safe traffic environment, you should always obey right-of-way rules. Extra caution should be given when encountering:

  • Pedestrians.
  • Motorcycle riders.
  • Bicyclists.

Below are several examples of when the right of way is required by law:

  • When you have yield sign.
  • When pedestrians are crossing the street.
  • To emergency and construction vehicles, when lights are flashing.
  • To school buses.

Right-of-Way Rules at Intersections

At intersections, it can be difficult to anticipate the actions of other drivers. These general rules were created to decrease the chance of a collision and to alert other drivers when right of way should be given.

Yield the right of way at an intersection when:

  • You are at a “T" intersection—yield to traffic on the through road.
  • Returning to the road after the car has been parked.
  • You arrive at stop sign at the same time as another vehicle.
    • Yield to the vehicle on your right.
  • Another vehicle reaches an intersection first.
  • You're making a turn and another vehicle is going straight.

Things to Remember

The law does not give anyone the right of way on the road. Instead, it states who is required to yield the right of way in certain instances. It is also the responsibility of the driver to do everything possible to be safe and avoid a collision.

Here are some other right-of-way tips you should keep in mind:

  • Never assume what another driver on the road is going to do.
  • Never insist on taking the right of way.
  • Yield whenever it is needed to be safe.
  • Make eye contact with other drivers at intersections when possible.
  • Try to anticipate the actions of other drivers whenever possible.

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