What Does Yielding the Right of Way Mean?

Last updated on: February 20, 2023

Failure to yield the right of way caused more than 540,000 car accidents in 2019 and remains one of the country’s top five reasons for car accidents. Florida continues to be one of the five states with the highest number of fatal car crashes in 2022. Failure to yield right-of-way accidents are frustrating in that even if you as a driver are exercising the utmost caution possible when driving, it is still possible for you to be involved in a car accident through no fault of your own.

If you have been involved in and injured due to a car accident, getting the help of an experienced Miami car accident attorney is crucial. Failure to yield right-of-way accidents are commonly caused by the negligence of drivers who do not follow traffic law. It is important to choose an attorney who can leverage their knowledge of the law to fight for your best interests. Our team of skilled attorneys, led by top-rated Miami car accident attorney David Charlip, may be able to file a claim on your behalf and ensure that your rights are protected. Contact us today at (305) 354-9313 to schedule a free consultation.

Yielding the Right of Way in Florida

Florida law does not specify rules indicating who has the right of way. Instead, the law sets guidelines on when to yield under specific traffic conditions. Yielding means allowing another driver to enter an intersection or a roadway ahead of them. It is meant to prevent accidents in areas where the rules of traffic may not be as clear cut such as areas without signages or traffic lights. When drivers are in a rush, are distracted, or otherwise not able to or refuse to yield, it results in a high likelihood of a car crash happening. 

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that around 25% of all traffic-related vehicle accident deaths and injuries that happen in Florida are linked to intersections. In 2021. It is estimated that 1,100 accidents happen in the state every day and 40% of those are also linked to intersections. Of all serious car accidents, 50% happen in intersections with 20% of fatal car accidents happening in and around intersections. 

While there have been efforts to mitigate the risks of accidents in intersections such as improving the design of traffic signals and markings, accidents continue to happen due to driver errors and the sheer volume of traffic there is in the contained space. 

To prevent accidents, authorities promote learning more about the rules of yielding the right of way. Florida Statutes 316.121 and 316.125 contain directives on how pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists alike should behave in intersections to lower the risk of accidents.

At stop signs, yielding to all other traffic and pedestrians is required. Only move ahead when the intersection is clear. In the event that two vehicles reach a four-way stop simultaneously, the rules of yielding require that the driver on the right can move forward first.

Open intersections are those without traffic control signs or signals. When entering an open intersection, yielding is important if:

  • There is already a vehicle in the intersection
  • Entering or crossing a state highway from a secondary road
  • Entering a paved road from an unpaved road
  • Planning to make a left turn and a vehicle is approaching from the opposite direction

In case two vehicles enter an open intersection simultaneously, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right.

Roundabouts are an innovative type of intersection that enhance traffic flow and decrease traffic crashes. Roundabouts are designed for all traffic to move in a counterclockwise direction, and vehicles approaching them must yield to circulating traffic. However, drivers must follow all signs to determine the correct right-of-way.

For pedestrian safety, it’s important to:

  • Look left and right before stepping off a curb
  • Only cross at intersections or designated crosswalks
  • Only cross when the WALK signal is green and you have enough time to cross
  • When walking along a highway, walk on the left shoulder facing traffic, wear light-colored clothing or use a flashlight to increase visibility at night.

Motor vehicles are required to yield to pedestrians in intersections equipped with traffic signals. Even in areas without traffic signals, motorists must still yield to pedestrians crossing the road. While cyclists and skateboarders on crosswalks are considered pedestrians, bicycles on the roadway are considered vehicles and must follow the rules of traffic.

Determining Fault in a Failure to Yield the Right-of-Way Accident

The driver who fails to yield the right of way would be liable for damages in case of an accident. All Florida drivers are expected to follow the statutes to avoid accidents. When accidents happen, it means that one or more drivers did not follow the rules. As a no-fault state, Florida allows drivers to file a claim against a negligent party’s insurance company. However, it is first important to establish who is responsible for the accident and whether negligence is a factor.

Car accidents, when they are caused by negligence to follow traffic rules, can be an inconvenience at best and a financial disaster at worst. A person may be entitled to the following damages and compensation if they have been injured in a failure to yield the right-of-way accident.

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Physical disabilities and impairment
  • Lost wages

After a right-of-way crash in Florida, it is important to call the authorities immediately to report what happened and to get medical attention. If you are unable to collect evidence yourself due to your injuries, getting a trusted family member or friend to take photos of the scene of the accident can also be helpful in establishing your case for compensation. The names and the information of the other drivers involved as well as eyewitnesses can also help. Documenting the weather conditions, traffic signs, anything the other driver says, and whether there are any obstructions on the roadway at the time of the accident can also help build a clearer picture of the circumstances of the accident.

In addition, an experienced Miami accident attorney can help you understand your rights and assist you in seeking compensation for your injuries. While you may be able to get compensation from the negligent driver’s insurance, insurance companies are liable to put profit first. Not all damages may be received from an insurance claim and you may need the help of a lawyer in filing a lawsuit if the insurance companies offer a lower settlement than you are entitled to or outright deny liability.

At Charlip Law Group, our skilled team of Miami car accident attorneys, led by top-rated personal injury attorney David H. Charlip may be able to help you in knowing your rights and making informed decisions about filing an injury case. We can help you negotiate a settlement with the negligent party’s insurance company and file an injury case if negotiations break down.

You don’t have to face this matter alone. Contact us today at (305) 354-9313  to schedule a consultation.

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