What Does “Yield the Right of Way” Mean?
People learning to drive often hear about the concept of yielding the right of way. But what exactly does it mean to yield the right of way? Right-of-way rules help prevent collisions between approaching vehicles and maintain the traffic flow. A driver who fails to yield the right of way when required may cause an accident and be found at fault. If the at-fault driver causes serious injuries to others, the driver may be held financially responsible.
The Queens accident attorneys of The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C., assist people who have been injured in car crashes caused by others. We can review the details of your accident and determine whether another driver caused the crash by failing to yield the right of way. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you believe you have been the victim of a failure-to-yield accident. We offer a free case review to help you understand your legal rights.
What Does It Mean To Yield the Right of Way?
Right-of-way rules determine which driver has the right to proceed and which motorist must wait.
In some cases, traffic signs or signals require a motorist to yield the right of way to another vehicle or pedestrian. In other cases, a driver may have a duty under New York traffic laws to yield the right of way to others. For example, a driver approaching an intersection must yield to traffic already in the intersection.
A driver yields the right of way when he or she slows or stops to allow another vehicle, cyclist, or pedestrian to proceed.
Why Is Yielding Important?
Yielding when required helps reduce the risk of accidents at intersections, road crossings, and access ramps. When vehicles approach from different directions, right-of-way rules determine which driver, cyclist, or pedestrian may proceed first. The rules help avoid confusion or mistakes that may lead to a collision.
Some drivers fail to yield due to a misunderstanding of New York City traffic laws and customs.
Some failure-to-yield accidents occur because of the following:
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Illegal maneuvers, including turning where not permitted
- Visual obstructions
- Misjudging the speed of other vehicles
- Mistakenly assuming another driver’s next move
Right of Way Laws in New York
New York traffic laws set forth right-of-way rules for various situations drivers may encounter. State traffic laws require drivers to yield at triangular yield signs.
Other right-of-way rules at intersections include:
- Motorists must give the right of way to vehicular, bicycle, or pedestrian traffic in the intersection.
- When two or more vehicles arrive at an intersection simultaneously, a driver turning left must yield to a driver turning right or proceeding straight.
- When two vehicles arrive at a stop sign-controlled intersection from perpendicular directions, the driver on the right has the right of way.
- Drivers entering a public road or highway from a private road or driveway must yield to approaching traffic on the road and pedestrians walking on the sidewalk.
- Drivers must yield to pedestrians legally crossing at a crosswalk or intersection.
- Motorists may not enter an intersection if their vehicle cannot clear the intersection before the light turns red.
Right-of-way rules protecting emergency vehicles include:
- Emergency vehicles with lights or sirens activated must be given the right of way, with traffic pulling to the right to clear a path for the emergency vehicle.
- A driver in an intersection should clear the intersection before pulling over to yield for an approaching emergency vehicle.
- Personal vehicles driven by volunteer firefighters, volunteer ambulances, and hazard vehicles such as snowplows may display warning lights. Drivers of these vehicles must obey right-of-way laws, although other motorists may choose to yield the right-of-way to these drivers as a matter of courtesy.
Drivers approaching a roundabout must yield to traffic in the circle.
Under state law, a conviction for failure to yield the right of way carries a fine of up to $150 and three demerit points. Fines can double for a second offense. Failing to yield to an emergency vehicle carries a fine of $275.
Who Is At Fault for a Right of Way Accident?
A driver who was legally required to yield the right of way but failed to do so would be at least partially at fault for a resulting accident. Drivers have an obligation to know and follow all right-of-way laws in New York. Violating traffic laws may constitute negligence on the part of a motorist.
New York requires automobile owners to carry Personal Injury Protection insurance to protect them and their passengers in the event of an accident. Under New York law, each motorist would initially file a claim against their own insurance, regardless of who was a fault. PIP insurance provides coverage of medical bills and lost wages up to the limits of the no-fault policy.
If a failure-to-yield accident caused serious injuries, the injured person may have a right to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance as well.
The at-fault driver may be held financially liable for the following:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Ongoing and future losses of earnings and employment benefits
- Long-term care costs for permanent disabilities
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress or trauma
- Lost enjoyment and quality of life
- Vehicle repair costs
You can improve your chances of proving the other driver’s fault for the right-of-way accident by taking the following steps:
- Report the accident to law enforcement
- Exchange information with the other driver and get contact information from eyewitnesses
- Document the accident scene by taking photos of vehicle damage, skid marks on the road, and traffic signs or signals
- Notify your insurance company
- Seek prompt medical attention and follow your healthcare provider’s treatment plan and instructions
- Gather records for your case, including police accident reports, medical records, bills/invoices for expenses you incurred, and income statements if you missed time from work.
Contact a Queens car accident lawyer as soon as possible to review the accident and get a clear understanding of your legal rights.
Get in Touch with One of Our Car Accident Attorneys
Were you hurt in an accident caused by a driver who failed to yield the right of way in NYC? Contact The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C., today for a free, no-obligation consultation with our Queens car accident attorneys. Our firm is ready to help you pursue the full compensation available for the losses that you have suffered.