It seems many of us have long forgotten the right-of-way rules we learned in driver’s education so many years ago. Yet, right-of-way rules are among the most crucial of all driving laws and rules. When drivers fail to yield the right-of-way, an accident can result, causing severe injuries, emotional distress, and financial devastation.
If you’ve been injured in an accident due to the negligence of another driver who failed to properly yield, you could benefit from speaking to an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney.
If you need a refresher on Georgia’s right-of-way laws, consider the following.
- Intersection without a stop sign or traffic light. If you are at an intersection that does not have a stop sign or a traffic light, you must yield to any driver who arrived at the intersection before you. If you and another driver arrive at virtually the same time, the driver on the left must always yield to the driver on the right.
- Intersection with a traffic light or stop sign. If the intersection does have a traffic light or stop sign, drivers must stop. Drivers at a light must wait for a green light, while drivers at a four-way stop will yield to the driver who arrived first. If drivers arrived at the same time, the driver on the left yields to the driver on the right. All drivers must yield to pedestrians and bicyclists in the intersection.
- Yield signs and right-of-way. In the case of a “yield” sign, drivers must slow down and yield to traffic that has the right-of-way, as well as preparing to yield to pedestrians or bicyclists as well.
- Police and emergency vehicles. You must always yield the right-of-way to police vehicles, fire trucks, and ambulances when lights and sirens are on. You should slow down and move to the shoulder, allowing emergency vehicles to pass.
- Entering the main road from a secondary road. When you are entering a roadway from a private road or a secondary road, you are required to yield to vehicles, bicycles, or pedestrians who are already on the primary road.
- Left turns on green lights. If you are making a left-hand turn on a green light—rather than a green arrow—you must yield to oncoming traffic. If you turn left in front of oncoming traffic and are hit, the accident will be considered your fault, even though you had a green light.
- Merging into traffic. When you are merging into traffic, you must always yield to any vehicle in the lane you are moving into. That may require slowing considerably, or even stopping and waiting for a place to merge. Many drivers believe the other car is required to move over and allow them to merge, but this is not the law.
- Construction zones. In any construction zone, you must always yield the right-of-way to workers and road maintenance vehicles. If you do not, and you hit a worker, you can expect extremely high fines, and possibly criminal charges as well.
- School buses. Never pass a stopped school bus that is displaying a stop sign and flashing lights. The only exception to this rule is when there is a median between the two lanes, and you are traveling in the opposite direction as the school bus. Even so, watch carefully to make sure there are no children trying to cross the road.
When you fail to yield the right-of-way, you are looking at three points added to your driving record—at a minimum. You will also likely face a fine, with larger fines when emergency vehicles, construction zones, or school buses are involved.
If your failure to yield caused you to strike another vehicle, a pedestrian, or a bicyclist, you will face additional fines and penalties and could even have criminal charges levied against you. If you fail to yield the right-of-way, you could also be held financially liable for injuries caused to others as a result of your negligence.
Proving fault in a right-of-way accident can be difficult if there were no witnesses to the accident and the police cannot make a definitive determination regarding fault. Because of this, it is definitely to your advantage to speak to a knowledgeable Georgia personal injury attorney who can investigate the accident, help you prove liability, then negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company on your behalf.
Contact Our Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers
If you got into a car accident in or around Atlanta, find a law firm offer that is experienced in helping injured car accident victims after suffering injuries in crashes. Even if you believe you were to blame for some of the accident, you may still be able to collect compensation.