We here at LA City Law want nothing more than for you to be safe and in good health, but in the instance that you find yourself in need of a personal injury attorney in the Los Angeles area, look no further than Los Angeles City Law. Automobile, truck, bus, motorcycle and pedestrian-related accidents are just a few of the areas of practice that we focus on, but we are here to provide you with a wide variety of personal injury-related legal needs.
Right-of-way-related accidents are not uncommon, and in many cases, accidents like these occur simply because the people involved in the accident are unaware of who in that particular situation has the right of way. While there are many scenarios involving right-of-way, here are five common ones to clear up some of the confusion.
Four Way Stop
This is a very common traffic scenario to encounter: a four-way intersection where all drivers have a stop sign. Who has right-of-way in this scenario? That is dependent on a few factors, the largest one being who arrived first. For simplicity’s sake, let’s use an example of just two vehicles for now. If two vehicles arrive at a four-way stop, whoever arrived first has the right of way. In the instance that they arrive at the same time, then the vehicle to the farthest right has the right of way. In the instance of three or four vehicles arriving at different times, again, it goes to whoever arrived first. In the instance of three or four vehicles arriving at the same time, the same rules apply, with the vehicle the furthest to the right having right-of-way.
This may not be common in certain regions of the country, but certainly prevalent out west. This can be confusing, as details can be altered on a state-to-state basis, but the best rule of thumb is to wait for an opening in traffic before entering, if that’s an option. Pedestrians should always yield to traffic, whether the traffic is inside or outside of the traffic circle. In many, but not all states, the vehicles entering the traffic circle must yield to those already inside it.
Turning Left at a Green Light
This scenario can also be tricky. If two cars are turning at a green light, the motorist turning right has the right of way. In the instance that the vehicle turning left has a green left turn arrow, then they have right-of-way.
Crosswalks with Pedestrians
In this scenario, pedestrians always have right-of-way, always. It’s common to see drivers drive through pedestrian crosswalks, which is perfectly legal if no pedestrians are present at the time of arrival. However, if pedestrians are present at the time of arrival, then they always have the right of way.
Interstate Lane Merging
This is another commonly made mistake. In the instance of a vehicle merging onto the freeway from an onramp, the vehicle in the onramp lane merging into traffic has the right of way. Yes, that driver has to technically wait for the oncoming traffic to “let them in”, but they still have right-of-way. If you are in one of the oncoming traffic lanes and someone is attempting to merge in from the onramp, they have the right of way and you should let them in.
There you have it, five common right-of-way scenarios cleared up. While this is no means a comprehensive list, we hope that we’ve provided a bit more clarity for you, the client. Always drive responsibly, always communicate clearly with those who you’re sharing the road with and when in doubt, give them the right of way. Accidents happen, and when they do, we are here to serve as your personal injury attorney. Call today for a free consultation, and be safe.