Car accidents can happen anywhere, at any time and for a lot of reasons. While distracted driving accidents are on the rise in the United States, drivers actually end up in more crashes because they fail to yield the right of way. According to a 2017 report from the Insurance Information Institute, 7.1% of all U.S. accidents (3,711 total) are the result of drivers who fail to yield the right of way, while only 5.7% (2,961) of accidents are the result of distracted driving.
Basic right-of-way rules
Knowing who has the right of way on the road isn’t always easy. So here are the very basic right-of-way rules:
- Drivers approaching a yield sign don’t have the right of way.
- Drivers need to yield the right of way to pedestrians in a crosswalk.
- Drivers need to yield the right of way to those using a seeing eye dog or using a white cane (indicating they may be visually impaired).
- Drivers need to yield at uncontrolled intersections where vehicles are already in the in intersection.
- Drivers at a T-intersection must yield right of way to those vehicles in the through road.
- Drivers turning left must yield to oncoming pedestrians, cars or bicycles.
- Drivers leaving an unpaved road must yield before entering a paved road.
- Drivers who are parked must yield to cars in the roadway when they reenter traffic.
At four-way stop-sign intersections, the right-of-rules become a bit more complicated. Drivers who arrive at the intersection first have the right of way. If you arrive at the intersection at the same time as another vehicle, you should give those on your right the right-of-way first.
If you are at a stop-sign intersection where the road has more than one lane in one or both directions, be careful before entering the intersection. Make sure no other cross-traffic drivers are entering the intersection at the same time you do.
Roundabout right of way
North Carolina, as many other states, has been adding more and more roundabouts in roadways. Because many drivers are still getting used to how roundabouts work, here’s what everyone should know about how right of way works in a roundabout:
- Slow down your speed as you approach a roundabout. You should only be going about 20 miles per hour through it.
- Drivers entering the roundabout need to yield to vehicles that already are in the roundabout, whether approaching a single- or double-lane roundabout.
By following the right-of-way rules for drivers, you are less likely to end up in an accident, which is always a welcome thing—no matter where you are traveling to.