Change Text Size +100%-

Yielding the Right of Way

A Federal Highway Administration study of 40,000 drivers at intersections controlled by stop signs revealed that two-thirds of drivers failed to stop. So, instead of assuming that other drivers will automatically yield right of way, you should pay careful attention to their intentions and actions.

Since they frequently require personal judgment, right-of-way laws are sometimes difficult to understand or apply. The following principles can help.

  • The right of way is always given; it is not something a highway user should take for granted.
  • The purpose of right-of-way laws is to prevent conflicts resulting from one driver failing to yield and give right of way to another.
  • A driver has not yielded right of way if he or she forces other highway users to slow or wait.
  • When two or more drivers approach a situation where someone is supposed to yield right of way, all drivers should be prepared to yield.
  • All drivers are required to exercise due care to avoid a collision, and whoever has the last clear chance to avoid a collision has an obligation to do so.
Examples below are of common right-of-way situations and how to negotiate them safely.