car accident, everyone involved and their insurance companies want to know who is liable,
first and foremost. A pretty quick and simple way to determine who should
not be found liable is determining who had the right of way immediately before
the collision. In some cases, right of way rules are all that really mattered
in the end. For example, a driver talking on their cellphone is clearly
negligent, but if they had not violated the rules of the road at the time
of a car crash, they might not be found entirely or mostly liable.
Take a look at this brief rundown of California’s right of way rules,
as described by the Department of Motor Vehicles:
- You must yield right of way to all pedestrians crossing the street at any time.
- You must not pass any vehicle that has stopped at a crosswalk, nor may
you stop on a crosswalk.
- When approaching and entering an intersection, yield to any vehicle already
in the intersection.
- The vehicle to the right has right of way when two or more vehicles approach
an intersection at once.
- When turning left at an intersection, you must yield to any other vehicle
approaching or entering the intersection.
- You must come to a complete stop and wait three seconds before proceeding
at all stop signs.
- Any moving traffic has the right of way when you leave a parking lot or
- A roundabout is considered an intersection for right of way rules.
- Only drive in a counter-clockwise direction in roundabouts.
- On one-lane inclines where two cars oppose one another, the vehicle going
uphill must backup until the vehicle going uphill can safely pass.
Remember that right of way rules are here to promote everyone’s safety.
To this end, you are also expected to give up your right of way, no matter
how sure of the rules you are, if it helps avoid a collision.
Obtaining Proper Legal Counsel After a Crash
The trouble with California’s right of way rules is that while they
are meant to be definite, they are also meant to be flexible, relying
as much on regulations as they do common courtesy. A driver who rolls
right through an intersection and strikes you while you are walking could
potentially attempt to blame you, the pedestrian, for not being careful
in the crosswalk. In any sort of traffic collision, you should always
retain the skills of a trusted car accident attorney, even when you
know you had the right of way. Otherwise you could be gambling with your own
If you were struck by a negligent driver in Southern California, you should
contact Irvine Car Accident Attorney Thomas E. Rockett and our team of personal injury case professionals. We have more than
25 years of experience taking on complicated injury claims for our clients,
doing all the legwork and heavy lifting while they focus on recuperation.
You can check out some of our most
recent testimonials to learn more about our services, or you can simply dial
714.701.8182 to request your
free initial consultation.