Right of Way

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While driving at times you may have wondered who has the right to go first. Right of Way is one of the most confusing legal rights we possess. Though it’s not defined as ambiguous, people find it tough to comprehend the scope of this law. If you are among those, let’s help you understand it.

What is the Right of Way?


This legal right grants you permission to pass along a specific route in certain conditions. The route here, is a motorable road of any kind.

The law does not give the right of way to any specific individual, but it clearly mentions who must yield the right of way under different circumstances.

Importance of Right of Way


It is important to understand the concept of ‘Right of Way’ because it is imperative ‘to yield the right of way’, i.e. to let another person go first.

There are several instances where it is very essential to yielding the right of way so one can avoid crashes and accidents on the road. Some of these scenarios are explained in the following sections.

At Intersections


Intersections are the busiest parts of the streets and a large number of accidents take place in or around intersections. Honouring right of way at intersections may prevent accidents.

  • It is important to yield the right of way to any vehicle that comes from the right at intersections that do not have any signs or signals.
  • At an intersection that has stop signs on all the four corners, stop your vehicle, check if there are other waiting vehicles too. Finally, the right of way must be yielded to a vehicle that came to the stop before you.
  • At the same intersection, if two vehicles come to the stop at the same time, the vehicle on the left must yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right.

While making turns


At any of the intersections, if you need to make a turn, you need to follow a simple rule:-

Whether you take a left turn or right, wait for the traffic or the pedestrians that are on your path to pass so you can take a turn.

Other circumstances


  • When you see a yield sign on an intersection, it means you are expected to either slow down or stop completely to yield the right of way to the traffic that is approaching the intersection.
  • The pedestrians walking on the sidewalk or vehicles driving on the road must always be yielded the right of way in case you are driving on a private road or around houses.
  • Remember to yield the right of way to pedestrians on the footpath or in zebra crossing and vehicles on the road when you enter from a private road.
  • On ways that are specifically marked as pedestrian crossings, make it a point to yield to the pedestrians who are crossing the crossing.

While these laws clarify much about the right of way, it is worth mentioning here that drivers must not insist on getting the right of way or force their vehicles into the traffic.