The rules of our roads are put in place to help keep everyone who travels on them safer. This means that understanding the rules of the road and abiding by them is crucial to staying safe out there. One critical safety element that tends to cause significant confusion and that often becomes a sticking point after a car accident is the issue of right-of-way. A better understanding of how right-of-way applies in different driving situations can help you be a safer driver. If another driver's negligence leaves you injured, consult with an experienced Central Texas personal injury attorney today.
After a collision, who had the right-of-way and who violated the right-of-way is often at issue. Right-of-way is the safety principle that determines who has the legal right to proceed in any given traffic situation – whether it be a motorist, bicyclist, or pedestrian. The person with the right-of-way has priority to proceed over others on the scene, and those others must yield to him or her. When drivers ignore or otherwise violate right-of-way regulations, they confuse the driving landscape and make dangerous accidents that much more likely.
Texas Right-of-Way Laws
Most right-of-way is determined by signage and traffic lights, but there are also several general rules that apply:
Making a Turn
If you are making a right turn in your vehicle, pedestrians in your path have the right-of-way.
Approaching Uncontrolled Intersections
If you come upon an uncontrolled intersection – an intersection without signage or traffic lights – whoever arrives at the intersection first has the right-of-way. If you arrive at the intersection at the same moment, the most-right vehicle has the right-of-way.
Unpaved or Private Roads
If you are merging from either an unpaved road onto a paved road or from a private road onto a main road, you must yield to those drivers on the paved or main road (who have the right-of-way).
Special Rules of the Road
There are several instances in which safety is so critical that special right-of-way rules apply:
Pedestrians generally have the right-of-way at intersections, crosswalks, in parking lots, and/or near those areas that see a lot of foot traffic.
If a School Buse is stopped with its lights flashing or with its stop sign extended, you must come to a full stop and must not pass until the lights are turned off and/or the stop sign is no longer extended.
Emergency Vehicles with their lights and/or sirens on have the right-of-way.
Trains always have the right-of-way. A train does not have the capacity to stop on short notice the way other vehicles do. For safety’s sake, always yield to trains – while allowing them as much space as possible.