Who Has The Right of Way?

Avoid accidents by understanding these rules of the road

 Most Americans drive with confidence and ego, sure that their interpretations of traffic rules are correct.  But the law is the law.  Understanding commonly misunderstood laws can save lives, even your own.

Generally, traffic signals or signs guide us in an intersection.  However, there are several instances where “right of way” is confusing

 The following rules apply when two cars reach an intersection at the same time.

  • If the vehicles are at right angles to each other, the vehicle on the right has the right of way.
  • If the vehicles are opposite each other, and one is turning left, that vehicle must wait until the other has passed.  If both are turning left, they may turn simultaneously.  Likewise if both are going straight.
  • At a “T” intersection, Vehicles on the road that goes straight have the right of way over those on the road that ends at the T.

Other right-of-way laws include the following.

  • When turning right on a red light, vehicles must come to a complete stop before proceeding, and must yield the right of way to pedestrians and bicyclists within a crosswalk and to other traffic using the intersection.
  • Traffic facing a green arrow signal must also yield the right of way to pedestrians and bicyclists within a crosswalk and to other traffic in the intersection.
  • Traffic moving within a roundabout has the right of way to those merging in.
  • Emergency vehicles with sirens and flashing lights on always have the right of way in an intersection.  Drivers in route must pull to the right and stop as soon as safely possible to let such emergency vehicles pass.
  • When merging with traffic, vehicles must enter at the same speed traffic is moving and should never stop at the end of the ramp.  Rather, merging vehicles should slow down on the ramp to allow room to speed up before merging.  Merging vehicles must yield to traffic already moving on the roadway.  It is illegal to cross the solid white line to merge early.

 If you have been in an accident, call Davis & Gelshenen LLP at 1-866-427-2121 for a free initial consultation with one of our Experienced, Trusted, and Recommended Personal Injury Attorneys.  Davis & Gelshenen LLP handles cases throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio, and will meet with you at your home to discuss your case.


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