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Posted in Car Accidents on February 7, 2017   |  by Gary Burger

Rules of the Road in Intersections

I’m Gary Burger of Burger Law, and I’d like to answer the question in this video of, “How do right of way rules apply to intersections?” We know that there are rules under the Missouri statutes and the Missouri drivers’ guides or the Illinois drivers’ guides that govern right of way in intersections. No law gives a driver the right of way. What the law does, it says you have to yield the right of way to other drivers coming through, and there are specific rules about that that you’re taught when you’re driving.

At intersections, a driver must yield the right of way under certain circumstances. At intersections, a driver must yield where necessary to avoid striking pedestrians or legally crossing the road. When a pedestrian is at a crosswalk and has the green light in the way the pedestrian is walking, you must yield the right of way to that pedestrian, whether you’re turning left, coming from behind, or you’re coming there the way and you’re turning right. That pedestrian has that right of way.

If a pedestrian isn’t quite making the light or is crossing against the light, still yield to that pedestrian. The pedestrian is unprotected by metal when they’re walking. Obviously, the metal of the car is surrounding you.

Drivers crossing the sidewalk, entering or exiting a driveway, alley or parking lot must yield to pedestrians in all circumstances. It is illegal to drive on a sidewalk except to cross that sidewalk. I think we all know that. Drivers turning left must yield to oncoming vehicles going straight, and that didn’t happen in this case right here where our client was going straight. Another vehicle was turning left. This vehicle turning left had a yield arrow and a sign saying you must yield as a reminder although it’s not needed because left-turning vehicles always yield. And, don’t take a left if you think you just might make it in time. Make sure there’s plenty of distance for you.

All right. How about the old question of a four-way stop? Well, the law says that the driver reaching the intersection first may proceed before the other drivers after coming to a complete stop. Now, what about entering a different road when you’re coming on to a main thoroughfare? Well, drivers entering a road from a driveway, alley or roadside must yield to vehicles already on the main road and yielding to them at their driving speeds, so if it’s a 55-mile-an-hour road that sometimes we have in more rural areas and you’re entering, you have to yield knowing the other cars are doing that speed. If it’s a 35-mile-an-hour road, that’s different.

Don’t just turn on the road knowing that the other driver’s going to break. You’re never in that much of a hurry that where your rule violation of not yielding the right of way could injure or kill another person.

In an intersection where there’s no stop sign, what do you do? Well, if there’s no stop sign or traffic signal with the exception of the roundabouts that we’re starting to see more, drivers must yield to vehicles coming from the right. When in a roundabout intersection, always yield to traffic and pedestrians that are already in that circle, that are going around. Wait for a gap in traffic before entering.

So, the rules of the road are pretty clear on yielding the right of way at intersections. If you have any questions, you can go on the Illinois or Missouri Department of Revenue websites or look at the driver’s guide. If you've been injured in an intersection accident and are looking for advice from seasoned personal injury lawyers, you can call us at (314) 542-2222 if you have any questions about that too. Thank you.