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How To Determine Who Has the Right-of-Way in an Accident


How To Determine Who Has the Right-of-Way in an Accident

After a car, truck or motorcycle accident, it can be difficult to objectively evaluate every aspect of the crash and discover who was at fault. However, determining who had the right of way during the incident is one of the easiest ways to begin evaluating the crash. Most car insurance policies are fault-based, so when you are seeking reimbursement from your insurance company, it’s important to find out who was liable for causing the accident. Furthermore, if you wish to pursue legal action against the other driver, proving their error or carelessness caused your injuries is essential.

There are certain laws in place designed to keep order on the streets and prevent accidents. Many of these rules address which vehicle has the right of way, or the legal right to proceed before another vehicle. Determining which vehicle has the right of way will depend on several factors, including the location of the incident, what traffic laws applied to the area, and what type of intersection the crash occurred in.

Discover which vehicle has the right of way in the following situations:

Controlled Intersections

A controlled intersection has distinct signals, such as stop signs or traffic lights, to designate who may go and who must stop. Pedestrians in crosswalks and cars with green lights should be given the right of way over cars at red lights.

Non-Controlled Intersections

At uncontrolled intersections the first person to come to a stop may proceed next, and therefore has the right of way. However, if you come to a stop at the same time as another vehicle, the vehicle to the right should be given the right of way.


When one road ends at a through street, the driver from the dead-end street must yield to vehicles on the through road.

Intersections with Multi-Lane Roads

When a single-lane road intersects with a larger road the vehicle on the smaller road must yield to other drivers, giving the vehicles on the larger road the right of way. This also applies to dirt and paved roads. Vehicles on paved roads have the right of way when intersecting with dirt roads.

Highway Exit Ramps

Vehicles merging onto the freeway must yield to vehicles already driving on the freeway. If an access road intersects a highway exit ramp, the drivers on the ramp must also yield to other vehicles.

Yield Signs

At a yield sign, the other drivers always have the right of way. Drivers approaching a yield sign should slow down and observe other vehicles to determine when they may safely proceed, sometimes stopping altogether to wait for a safe course to continue on.


As a rule, drivers must always yield to pedestrians, so pedestrians will have the right of way in nearly every situation. When a pedestrian is in a crosswalk. Other vehicles may not enter that crosswalk, even if the pedestrian seems to be out of the way.

If you were injured in a car accident and believe you had the right of way, our firm wants to help. We can use our vast resources to evaluate your situation, the circumstances of your crash, and who may be liable for the resulting damages. If you are eligible for compensation, we may be able to help you gain recompense for medical expenses, the damage to your vehicle, loss of wages, and pain and suffering.

Contact Cossé Law Firm, L.L.C. to get started with a free consultation.


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