California Right of Way Laws: What You Need to Know

Right of Way Rules in California: What You Need to Know

California Right of Way Laws: What You Need to Know

California right-of-way laws have many exceptions to the rules, leading to frequent confusion among drivers, making it essential for drivers as well as pedestrians, to understand the many legal nuances.

Intersection Right of Way/ 4 Way Stop

Who has the right of way at an intersection varies depending on the scenario:

  • At a four-way stop, the vehicle that arrived first has the right of way
  • If multiple vehicles pull up to a three or four-way stop simultaneously, motorists must yield to the vehicle most right
  • If making a left-hand turn, motorists must yield to any vehicle in present danger
  • Motorists must yield to traffic on the through-road when the intersection isn’t marked
  • At any stop, vehicles must yield to the first-arriving pedestrian, bicycle, or motorist

Pedestrian Right of Way

Do pedestrians have the right of way? Yes.

If a pedestrian fails to follow the rules of the road, the law still requires that motorists yield the right of way.

Who is Considered a Pedestrian?

Pedestrians are defined as anyone not in a motor vehicle or on a bicycle. People on roller skates, skateboards, tricycles, or wheelchairs are all considered pedestrians. Under California law:

  • Pedestrians have the right of way;
  • Motorists must stop within five feet of a crosswalk to let pedestrians pass;
  • Vehicles must yield the right of way to blind persons;
  • Motorists are prohibited from passing other vehicles waiting at a crosswalk;
  • Pedestrians must follow traffic laws;

Cyclists Right of Way

Bicyclists have the right to take the lane if it is not wide enough for riders and pedestrians.

Consequences for Ignoring the Right of Way Laws in California

Every year, California sees thousands of car accidents on its roads. California’s right-of-way laws exist to maintain order on busy streets. Failing to yield the right of way often causes immense property damage and bodily damage, from catastrophic injuries to fatal injuries. In fact, more than 3,000 people lost their lives in California traffic collisions in the last reporting year. Failing to yield the right of way is the 4th leading cause of critical injuries and fatalities.

According to the Insurance Information Institute:

  • Failing to yield the right of way caused 3,663 fatal car accidents nationwide
  • 8% of all traffic accident fatalities were due to a right of way violation

As laws can vary by state or municipality, some drivers may fail to yield to the proper vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian. At Curtis Legal Group, our California car accident attorneys know what to do in a car accident and have years of experience holding responsible parties accountable. Contact us today if you or someone you love was injured by a driver ignoring right of way laws today.