What Does Yielding the Right of Way Mean?

What Does Yielding the Right of Way Mean?

Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicle operators must all obey the rules of the road that apply to them. Right-of-way laws are one set of rules that impact all roadway users. They help govern the flow of foot and wheeled traffic to reduce the likelihood of a collision. However, these laws only work if individuals yield the right of way when required.

“Yielding the right of way” may sound archaic, but knowing its meaning and application is crucial to traffic safety. This blog will explore what drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians should do when the law requires them to yield the right of way.

Basic Right-of-Way Rules in Tennessee

When used as a noun, “right of way” refers to the legal authority to proceed on one’s way ahead of others. This authority changes from moment to moment as a particular situation unfolds. In other words, the individual who has the right of way changes. For this reason, everyone who travels on or near the road must remain alert so they can know who has the right of way.

If a person does not have the right of way at any given moment, then that individual must yield to the person who does. To “yield the right of way” means the person waits in place until they obtain the right to proceed. 

Some of the more commonly encountered rules include the following:

Right-of-Way Laws and Crosswalks

In general, pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the street at crosswalks have the right of way, and all vehicular traffic must yield to them. For example, suppose that you are turning right at an intersection and have a green light. A pedestrian enters the crosswalk just before you begin your turn. You must yield to this pedestrian and wait until they are clear.

Outside of a crosswalk, pedestrians must wait until vehicular traffic has cleared before attempting to cross the road. Once they do start crossing, however, they have the right of way, and other traffic that comes upon them should yield.

Turning Left

The general rule is that drivers who are turning left must yield the right of way to other oncoming foot, pedal, and vehicle traffic. Once all oncoming traffic has cleared and the motorist can make a left turn safely, they may proceed. The turning driver then has the right of way to complete their turn.

Motorists turning left at an intersection controlled by a signal also have the right of way anytime they have a green arrow. Other traffic must wait until they have green lights before continuing on their way.

Approaching Intersections

Some intersections are controlled by traffic lights that clearly identify who has the right of way from moment to moment. However, at an uncontrolled intersection, whoever arrives at the intersection first has the right of way over drivers who arrive later. If two or more drivers arrive at the same time, then the driver who does not have another vehicle to their right has the right of way.

Yielding the Right of Way Is Essential For Safety

Drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists are all expected to know and follow Tennessee’s right-of-way laws. Although following these rules may be cumbersome and frustrating in some situations, they provide a predictable pattern for traffic to follow. When someone ignores or forgets these rules, it can create chaos on the road, which can lead to wrecks that injure or kill.

Contact the Nashville Accident Attorneys at Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers Today

For more information, please contact the Nashville car accident law firm of Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers, to schedule a free consultation today.

We proudly serve Nashville, Brentwood, and its surrounding areas in Tennessee:

Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers – Nashville
315 Deaderick St, Suite 1525
Nashville, TN 37238

(615) 685-8546

Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers – Brentwood
320 Seven Springs Way, Suite 250
Brentwood, TN 37027

(615) 455-3384