Drivers have a responsibility to understand the right-of-way laws for every type of vehicle interaction. Normally, a driver who fails to follow the Illinois right-of-way traffic laws will be the one a jury or arbiter finds liable for a car accident. Drivers are responsible for knowing the applicable laws and abiding by them. Right-of-way laws are designed to direct which cars can proceed in traffic in the same manner that traffic lights and stop signs control traffic.
Standard right-of-way situations
Common driving situations where right-of-way laws control traffic movement and safety are:
- Yield signs. Yield is an express statement that the other driver—the one who does not have the yield sign—has the right of way.
- Crosswalks. Pedestrians have the right of way when there are no traffic signs or lights. Drivers should always defer to the pedestrian. As a practical matter, drivers should defer even if it is clear the driver has the right of way. Any car accident with a pedestrian is likely to kill or seriously injure the pedestrian.
- Exiting parking spots and driveways. You need to look for and yield to oncoming traffic.
- Merging. This action is often ripe for accidents. If there are signs that direct which car has the right-of-way, that sign should be followed. Cars that are stopped should yield to cars that are moving. Cars that are on a side road generally need to yield to a car on a main road. Cars in lanes with less traffic should yield to cars in lanes with more traffic. Cars merging from an on-ramp must yield to cars on the main road.
- Four-way stops. In this classic driver test situation, the driver who gets to the intersection first has the right-of-way. If two or more cars get to the stop first, then the car on the right is the one that can go first.
- T-intersections. Here, one lane has a dead-end and the other lane has traffic that goes both ways. The driver on the dead-end road must yield.
- These traffic situations are also ripe for accidents because quick decisions must be made. Cars not yet in the circle should give way to cars traveling in the circle. Cars on the left should yield to cars on the right.
Drivers should also give the right-of-way to ambulances, school buses, and funeral lines of traffic. Drivers with a protected left-turn signal have the right of way. Otherwise, the general rule is that if an intersection accident happens, the car turning left is usually the one at fault – assuming both cars had green lights.
When a car accident occurs, it is important to see a Chicago car accident lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyers at Gainsberg Law P.C. work with professionals who investigate the scene of an accident and review the police reports to determine who had the right-of-way and who was responsible for any injuries. To speak with a strong advocate, please phone us at 312-600-9585 or fill-out our contact form.
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Neal S. Gainsberg has spent the last 20 years fighting to protect the rights of the injured in Chicago and throughout Illinois. From consumer rights and bankruptcy to catastrophic injuries and wrongful death, Mr. Gainsberg stands up to large corporations, insurance companies, creditors and hospital administrators to ensure that his clients’ futures are safe and secure. Learn More