The right of way concept boils down to common sense, respect, self-discipline, and the need to put the common good over personal interests.
A generous amount of courtesy also goes with it. It’s another reason you should avoid drowsy driving. The right of way is not just for the drivers, but should be observed even by the pedestrians and bicycle riders.
The right of way rule is especially favorable to the new, inexperienced drivers who are yet to learn the ropes. By mastering the right of way rule, they avoid getting confused when they come to the right of way situations.
What is the Right Of Way?
The right of way is about how drivers should react in certain odd situations to avoid confusion on who has the priority. Some situations require you to yield the right of way to others.
This can be an inconvenience, especially if you were rushing somewhere, but then rules are rules, and they are made for the common good. Don’t you feel good when it is you who has the right of way?
You are safer on the road when all other road users observe the right of way rule. Do not for a moment insist that it is either your way or the highway. At the same time, it should be noted that the law gives no one the right of way. What it does is explain who ought to yield.
The following are the top situations that require you to give the right of way:
1. Four-Way Intersection
If your car and another (or more) reach a four-way intersection simultaneously, you and the other cars should yield the right of way to the car on the right if you are on the left. However, if you are on the right, you have the right of way and should go first. This rule applies to three-way intersection or T-intersections.
Remember that if you have the right of way, you shouldn’t relinquish it to the other driver when you are already in the intersection. You should move at the first opportunity because the vehicles behind you expect you to be moving once the coast is clear. If you delay, the other vehicles without the right of way can assume you have surrendered your right to go first, and all of them may attempt to go first, resulting in a stand-off.
That little confusion can result in an accident because other vehicles assumed you are making a move next.
In short, make good use of your right of way.
2. First Come First Served At Intersections
In the ordinary intersections, the car that got there first has the right of way to go first. That is, you may be on the left therefore has the right to go, according to the rule above, but in this case, you yield the right to the car that came first.
It may not seem fair if you are the one yielding, but just wait for the day you will be the beneficiary.
3. Pedestrians in a Crosswalk
In a crosswalk, the pedestrian is king, so always give them the right of way.
4. Uncontrolled Intersection
The uncontrolled intersection has no stop signs, yield signs, or traffic lights to bring order. It can be tricky, especially for new drivers. If you are in an uncontrolled intersection and another vehicle is already in it, you should be courteous enough to give it the right of way.
5. Left-Hand Turns
Whenever you make left-hand turns, the right of way rule requires you to yield to oncoming pedestrians and vehicles. You may have to wait long for the traffic to clear even if you got there ahead of them.
It may not make sense to you, but the rule is that when the light turns green, you should wait for the traffic to clear.
6. Emergency Vehicles
You should always yield the right of way to ambulance, police, fire, or other known emergency vehicles responding to an emergency. A siren and flashing lights are usually the give-way notifications.
It doesn’t matter which direction the emergency vehicle is coming from; simply give way by pulling over to the edge of the road. Remember that emergency vehicles are free to disregard the travel rules, meaning they can jump lanes to save time.
7. At a Yield Sign
If you find yourself right at a yield sign, you have to overlook other rules and simply yield. In such a situation, it doesn’t matter who got their first or who is on which side of the lane.
But when you are turning left from the road and into a driveway, you have the right of way over those leaving the driveway. They should yield.
9. On a Round-About
On a round-about, you should yield to the vehicle that is already in the circle. If you are the one in the circle, do not stop until you get to the exit. Should you miss the exit, do not reverse; simply go around again.
10. Multi-lane Intersections to Highway
Where lanes intersect a highway or other larger road, you should yield to the vehicles plying the highway. You should also bear in mind that vehicles on the highway usually drive at a faster speed.
11. Pedestrians with Disabilities
When a pedestrian with a disability is about to cross the road, you have to give way even if the law is on your side readily. For instance, a blind man being guided by a dog or a white cane.
These rules are no secret; they are well-known by many seasoned drivers. The rules may slightly differ from state to state, but that’s not the problem.
The problem sets in when whoever should yield deliberately fails to do so. As already side, it is partly a matter of self-discipline and respect, qualities of which not every driver pursues.
If you have the right of way, but the other driver refuses to yield, do not insist. You should simply humble yourself and let him have it for the safety of other road users. The moment you start to fight it out, this could get out of hand, leading to an accident. It is pointless ending up injured or dead because you were fighting over your right to go first. Of course, we are not encouraging you to be timid.
Looking for more practical lessons from experienced instructors on giving the right of way, taking a 3 point turn, parallel parking or any other driving skill? Call 718-576-6277 to speak to one of our associates about your driving needs.