Reviewing Driving Basics: Yielding the Right of Way

A yield sign on an off-ramp with the words, "yielding the right of way."

It typically takes about five years of regular driving to become a successful driver and ten years to become a professional one. In this time, a driver is able to fully understand and appreciate the laws of the road and master the various skills driving entails. But with so many rules of the road, even the most experienced driver can use a refresh from time to time. 

Branch & Dhillon is committed to ongoing education and service to our community in the Arlington and DFW areas. In this article, our team reviews the laws governing who has the right of way and how you can better keep yourself and your family safe while on the roads. Here is what you need to know about this basic but extremely important driving skill.

What Does It Mean to Yield the Right of Way?

When a driver yields the right of way, it means that they are granting the right to another driver to go first on the road. Several laws that dictate which driver needs to yield and which one should go first.

Here is a quick review of who has the right of way in these common situations:

Right of Way at Intersections

Signs or signal lights at intersections determine who has the right of way. But in the case of power outages, high winds, or newly built intersections with no signage, it may be more difficult to determine who has the right of way. Follow these rules in this situation:

  • Always yield the right of way to the vehicle on your right.
  • When a single or two-lane road intersects with a multi-lane road, the traffic on the single or two-lane road will have to yield the right of way to the traffic on the larger highway.
  • If an unpaved road intersects with a paved one, the driver on the unpaved road must yield the right of way to vehicles on the paved one.

Right of Way at 4-Way Stops

A horrific accident involving multiple vehicles.

When approaching a four-way stop, yield the right of way to the driver who arrived at the intersection before you did. Allow the vehicle or vehicles who got to the intersection first to go through and then take your turn. If drivers in the opposing lane are making a left turn, they have the right of way at the four-way stop. Give them enough time to make the turn safely before driving forward.

Right of Way at T-Intersections

When traveling on a street that ends at an intersection that meets another street where you can turn right or left, you must stop and yield the right of way to vehicles on the street. Check both ways for traffic at these intersections before making your turn.

Right of Way When Turning Left

When you are turning left across oncoming traffic lanes, you must yield right of way to the oncoming vehicles. Remember, making a left-hand turn takes more time than a right-hand one, so make sure there is enough room for you to do so safely.

Right of Way When Leaving a Driveway, Parking Lot, or Private Road

If you are entering or crossing a road from a driveway, parking lot, parking garage, or any other parking area, the right of way always belongs to approaching traffic. Stop and ensure the coast is clear before pulling out. 

This rule includes cars trying to leave a parking lot. If you are backing out, the cars already moving through the lanes have the right of way. Make sure the coast is clear before you back or pull out.

What Is the Penalty for Failing to Yield the Right of Way?

It is considered negligence when a driver fails to yield the right of way. If that failure to follow the law results in an accident, the negligent driver is held liable for the resulting damages. Legal penalties will also be applied, including fines and other actions depending on the extent of the accident. These fines and penalties are as follows:

  • For failing to yield the right of way and causing bodily injury to another, the driver responsible can face a fine between $500 to $2,000. 
  • For failing to yield the right of way and causing serious bodily injury, the negligent driver can face a fine of up to $1,000 to $4,000.
  • If a driver fails to yield the right of way and is involved in an accident twice or more within five years, they may face an additional fine of $1,000 to $2,000 and possible suspension of their license for up to six months.
  • If a driver fails to yield the right of way to a school bus, they may be punished with a fine of $500 to $1,250 on a first offense.
  • If there was bodily injury as a result of yielding the right of way to a school bus, it will be considered a Class A misdemeanor and will be punishable by a fine of up to $4,000 and a year in jail.
  • An additional offense of failure to yield the right of way to a school bus with serious injuries will be considered a felony and is punishable by 180 days to 2 years in prison along with a fine up to $10,000.

What Should I Do After An Accident?

A woman is holding her neck after a car accident.

If you are involved in an accident caused by a driver failing to yield the right of way or for any other reason, follow the steps outlined below. By doing the following, you will be able to paint a clearer picture for the court as to what happened and better your chances at getting the compensation you deserve. 

  • Make sure that you, your passengers, and others involved in the accident are okay and out of harm’s way.
  • Call emergency services for those who are injured.
  • Take photos of the accident to show what happened, where the accident took place, and the injuries that came as a result.
  • Exchange contact and insurance information with the driver/drivers involved in the accident.
  • Gather contact information from any witnesses who remained on the scene. 
  • Talk with the police and give them a statement as to what happened. Remember, try not to use words that would imply your guilt in the accident. Only state the facts and nothing else.
  • Go to a doctor to get your injuries properly recorded as well as any proposed treatment. Even if you don’t think you’re injured, get checked out. Some injuries are not readily apparent. 

Get in Contact With a Car Accident Attorney

One of the most vital steps to ensuring that you get the compensation you deserve for an accident is to contact a car accident attorney. An experienced car accident attorney will make sure your case is heard and that you get the compensation you deserve for medical bills and damages.

The reliable team at Branch & Dhillon, P.C. services Arlington, Texas and the surrounding areas. We have helped countless individuals get their life back on track after an accident by helping them hold the responsible party accountable for their injuries. Contact our team today for more information on our services or to schedule a consultation with our car accident attorneys to go over your case.

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