Right-of-way rules make the orderly and safe flow of traffic possible. These rules help motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians recognize who is expected to yield in specific situations. When one party fails to yield the right-of-way, they put themselves and others on the road at risk of serious injuries or worse.
If you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s failure to yield the right-of-way, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries and other losses.
When someone else’s negligence has caused you harm in Sacramento and surrounding areas of California, turn to the Demas Law Group, P.C. for help. With more than 25 years of experience fighting on behalf of injured accident victims, our firm is ready to work tirelessly to pursue fair and total compensation for you.
We understand the stress and anxiety that being injured due to no fault of your own can create. That’s why you deserve a lawyer you can trust to seek the best possible outcome while providing you with the personalized attention and responsive communication you need always to know what’s going on in your case.
Call or contact our firm online for a free case review to learn more about how we can help you. Our consultations cost you nothing, and we’ll never charge you for our services until we recover money for you.
What Is the Right-of-Way in California?
Right-of-way refers to the rules that determine which motorist, cyclist, or person has the right to proceed through traffic first. The right-of-way rules in California have been written into the state’s vehicle code.
Right-of-way rules in California include
- Persons entering an intersection must yield to others already in the intersection.
- When two vehicles arrive at an intersection at the same time, especially where an intersection has stop signs at each entrance, the driver on the left is expected to yield to the driver on the right. If one motorist has a stop or yield sign and the other does not, the motorist with the sign must yield to the driver without a sign.
- Intersections with a non-functioning traffic light are treated as having a stop sign at each intersection entrance.
- Vehicles making a left turn or U-turn must yield to approaching oncoming traffic.
- Motorists entering a highway must yield to traffic on the highway.
- All vehicles must yield to emergency vehicles with lights and/or sirens activated.
What Is Failure to Yield?
A failure to yield refers to a motorist, bicyclist, or pedestrian who fails to respect another person’s right-of-way who has the right to proceed under traffic laws and rules.
This action may be intentional, often referred to as “aggressive” driving, or may result from a person not knowing the right-of-way rules in a particular situation.
Failure to Yield Accident Statistics
Data from the Insurance Information Institute showed that failure to yield the right-of-way was the fourth-leading cause of fatal crashes across the U.S., totaling 3,579 crashes, or 7 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents nationwide.
According to the crash report published by the California Department of Transportation, there were 4,737 accidents on state highways primarily caused by a failure to yield in a single recent year. Of these, 185 accidents resulted in fatalities.
Types of Failure to Yield Accidents
Examples of types of motor vehicle accidents that can arise from failing to yield include:
- Left turns – Vehicles making a left turn or U-turn must yield to all vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the intersection and all approaching traffic with a green light.
- Right turns on red – Vehicles turning right on red must yield to oncoming cross-traffic.
- Stop signs, yield signs, and traffic lights – Vehicles and pedestrians must obey all traffic control signs and traffic lights.
- Bicycles and pedestrians – Motorists are generally expected to yield to bicycle riders and pedestrians.
- Parking lots and driveways – Vehicles exiting from driveways or parking lots/garages must yield to any traffic on an intersecting sidewalk or roadway.
- Three-way and four-way stop signs – Vehicles arriving simultaneously at an intersection with a three-way or four-way stop must give right-of-way to the vehicle on the right unless another vehicle is approaching from an entrance that does not have a stop sign, in which case that vehicle may proceed.
- Merging – Vehicles merging onto a freeway must yield to traffic already on the freeway.
- Emergency vehicles – All vehicles must yield to emergency vehicles with lights/sirens active. Vehicles typically are expected to pull over to the right and stop where safe to do so until the emergency vehicle has passed.
Causes of Failure to Yield Accidents
Drivers may cause accidents due to a failure to yield for many different reasons. Some of the most common explanations for a driver’s failure to yield the right-of-way include:
- Distracted driving, including using a cell phone or reaching for an object inside the vehicle
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Drowsy or fatigued driving
- Reckless or aggressive driving, in other words, intentionally disregarding the right of way
- Inexperienced drivers who may not know the right-of-way rules in all situations on the road
- Poor visibility due to low lighting or heavy rain or fog
- Obstructed stop or yield signs or traffic lights
Liability in Failure to Yield Accidents
In most cases, the party that had the obligation under law to yield the right-of-way can be held liable for a failure to yield accident. However, depending on the circumstances leading up to the accident, liability for the crash may also be shared by other parties involved in the accident.
In some cases, it may prove necessary to have accident reconstruction experts review the evidence from the case to explain what happened in the crash and identify the party or parties who may have caused the accident.
Contact a Sacramento Failure to Yield Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident caused by another motorist’s failure to yield, contact Demas Law Group, P.C. We’re ready to provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the specifics of your accident and how we can help. Our goal will be to get you the full and fair compensation that you’re owed.
Call us or contact us online today for help.