The right of way

Stop light in city

According to National Safety Council statistics, 13.896 of all fatal motor vehicle accidents involved a driver's failure to yield the right of way. More than seven thousand people died because a driver failed to give another motorist the courtesy of the road. How many times do you find yourself in a me first situation—too bullheaded to give up the road? Right of way is probably one of the most misunderstood of all driving rules. It simply refers to a motorist's right to cross an intersection ahead of another vehicle. This rule was established to determine the order of preference of all vehicles traveling on our streets and highways. Without right of way rules, driving would be a mass of confusion, with drivers always trying to beat each other through an intersection. Right of way rules are designed for all of our safety.

What are some of the precautions you can take to prevent right of way accidents? A relatively simple solution is to yield the right of way in every situation, whether or not it is required by law. To be more specific, if there is any doubt about there being enough room to pass on a narrow stretch of roadway, let the other vehicle go first. When entering a freeway, yield the right of way to vehicles already traveling the freeway. Those vehicles should not have to alter their speed or swerve to make room for your approach. Don't jump the gun at a four way stop. The first to come to a complete stop should be given the right of way.

Since failure to yield the right of way is the second most frequent violation involved in fatal accidents, a good driver should be thoroughly familiar with right of way rules. Knowing when you do have the right of way is not as important as knowing when you don't. By following the basic rule that it is the responsibility of every driver to do everything possible to protect other drivers and pedestrians, we will greatly reduce the possibility of an accident. Remember, accidents don't just happen. Many are caused by drivers who violate the rules of the road. Obey these rules, drive safely and whenever in doubt, yield the right of way.

Stop light in city
This document is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind. This document can’t be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedures or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. Markel does not guarantee that this information is or can be relied on for compliance with any law or regulation, assurance against preventable losses, or freedom from legal liability. This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional advice. Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser.  Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete. Furthermore, Markel does not assume any liability to any person or organization for loss or damage caused by or resulting from any reliance placed on that content.

*Markel Specialty is a business division of Markel Service, Incorporated, the underwriting  manager for the Markel affiliated insurance companies.
© 2022 Markel Service, Incorporated.  All rights reserved. 
Was this helpful?