Right-of-way helps to dictate the way traffic flows on the streets and sidewalks of our cities. Right-of-way also dictates the way that vehicles, bike riders, and pedestrians all interact. Right-of-way rules are designed not just to keep everyone safe, but to make the experience of driving more pleasant.
Uncontrolled intersections are intersections which do not have a stop-sign, yield-sign, or stoplight. These are particularly dangerous intersections because it can be difficult to predict what other drivers are going to do. When you can’t predict the actions of others drivers, the likelihood of an accident rises dramatically. The general right-of way rule states that you should slow down and be ready to stop when approaching an uncontrolled intersection. Yield to drivers who arrived before you. If you arrive simultaneously, yield to the driver on the right.
Sometimes controlled intersections can be difficult to navigate as well. Four-way-stops are common. These are intersection where there is a stop sign facing each approach. Like with uncontrolled intersections, the car which arrived to the four-way-stop first should have the right of way. If cars arrived at relatively similar times and it isn’t possible to determine definitively who arrived first, the right of way should proceed to the car furthest to the right. T-intersections are another tricky situation, but learning about them is important. In this case, through traffic always has the right-of-way. This means if you have to turn left or right, it is your duty to wait for all other cars to clear the intersection.
Drivers need to keep a close eye out for pedestrians! They are smaller, more fragile, and very easy to injure. Right-of-way should always go to a pedestrian. If they are crossing the street, it is the driver’s duty to slow down and let them cross. Slow down when approaching turns or intersections, as it can often be easy to overlook pedestrians. If a driver makes a mistake, it could easily be fatal.