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Hi! I’m Gary Burger of Burger Law, and I often have people ask me, “What does right of way mean? When you’re driving, what does the right of way mean?” Well, luckily, we have the law to tell us that. We have the rules of the road in Missouri and Illinois and every other state in the union, and what they say is that, “Where vehicles or pedestrians are likely to meet one another and there are no signs or signals to regulate traffic, there are rules that say who must yield the right of way. These rules tell drivers who goes first, who must wait in different traffic situations.” The law says who must yield the right of way, meaning, give the right of way to someone else. It does not give any driver the right or the right of way to proceed.

So, when there are no traffic signals or devices, you need to use common sense. You yield to pedestrians. You yield to kids. If you are in a situation where you’re turning left, you let the other vehicles, you yield the right of way to vehicles that are coming towards you. If you’re at a stop area or an area where your stop signs are down or traffic control devices are not working, everybody stops and you yield the right of way to the person who first comes to the stop, gets to go first. You yield the right of way through traffic, so if you’re taking a right-hand turn on a road, you yield the right of way to that through traffic. You only come out when it safe to do so, when you have plenty of distance, not close calls but plenty of distance to yield the right of way.

Failure to lead the right of way is a rule violation, and it’s someone who breaks the safety rules, who so fails, and if they do that they can injure drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, truck drivers, everybody else. Yielding the right of way is vitally important.

I just met with a client who I now am representing and assisting, who was in an automobile accident where he’s at lunch stop. This is the police report map. He’s at lunch stop. He’s at his lunch break. He works for the post office. He’s going straight, and another vehicle is taking a left here. That other vehicle had to yield the right of way to our client who was proceeding through a green signal. The police officer in this case did an amazing job in his report. His investigation showed that our client was traveling through an intersection with a green signal. The other vehicle was attempting to make a left turn and struck the other vehicle. The other vehicle that’s taking the left turn had a blinking yellow light and had a sign that said yield to oncoming traffic. The other driver failed to do so, there was a violent collision and injured our client.

So, yielding the right of way is very important. There are specific rules about it. I’m not going to bore you and go through every possible scenario, but you yield the right of way. You do that in every intersection, every time you’re going to encounter a pedestrian or another car, and it is better safe than sorry. Take a minute and pause. Don’t be in such a hurry. Yield the right of way. Avoid accidents, and be safe on the road.

If you have any questions about yielding the right of way, what the rules of the road require in any state, give me a call. I’m Gary Burger, (314) 542-2222. Thank you.

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