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Right of Way Laws

Many car accidents are caused by drivers who refuse to yield. Georgia right of way laws promote the orderly flow of traffic through intersections and in parking lots, protecting motorists and pedestrians. Unfortunately, too many drivers ignore the rules or never learn them in the first place. The result? An unnecessary number of car wrecks, including T-bones and head-on collisions. Add in hundreds of injured pedestrians struck as they try to cross the road, and you end up with a public safety crisis. We all need to do better.

Call Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys today if you were injured in a crash. A negligent driver might have failed to yield, which makes them responsible for your accident. An Atlanta car accident lawyer with our firm will review what you know. You can schedule a free consultation by calling (404) 529-3476.

What Are the Right of Way Laws in Georgia?

These laws tell drivers and pedestrians who must yield—that is, who needs to stop—to allow another person or motorist to cross the road. Without these rules, intersections could become a free-for-all and the number of accidents, already too high, would be even higher. Let’s look at some right of way rules. You can find most of these rules at Title 40, Chapter 6, Article 4 of the Georgia Code.

  • Drivers must stop when instructed by a stop sign or red light and yield the right of way to any pedestrian or vehicle in the intersection.
  • When approaching a yield sign, a driver must slow down and prepare to stop to yield to pedestrians or traffic.

At a four-way intersection, the vehicle which arrives first should go first. If two or more vehicles arrive at the same time, then the vehicle on the right should pass through the intersection first.

A driver must yield to oncoming traffic before they make a turn.

  • A driver seeking to enter a road from a secondary road or private road must yield to vehicles already on the road.
  • Motorists must yield to authorized vehicles or workers engaged in highway construction or maintenance within a construction zone. Outside the zone, drivers must yield to an authorized vehicle engaged in work if it has flashing or revolving amber lights.
  • Drivers must yield to all emergency vehicles (police, ambulances, fire trucks) which have their lights and sirens on.
  • Drivers should also slow down and move to the side of the road so emergency vehicles can pass.
  • Drivers must yield to a school bus which has stopped and displays a red flashing light.

Most of these rules feel like “common sense.” If you are pulling into the road from a driveway, you must let vehicles pass. You can’t just jump into traffic and cause a wreck. Unfortunately, impatience and distraction are often reasons for accidents.

Is a Failure to Yield Negligence?

Failure to yield is a prime cause of accidents, including side impact collisions. This driver is liable for the crash if they failed to drive carefully. That is what Georgia calls negligence.

A failure to yield will almost always qualify as negligence. Drivers are expected to know the rules of the road, including right of way laws. A driver who fails to follow these rules is usually liable for any crash they cause. That means a victim can seek financial compensation from the driver.

Many of our car accident cases are based on a failure to yield. We have helped people injured by:

  • Drivers who run a red light because of impatience or distraction.
  • Motorists making a turn without yielding to traffic or pedestrians.
  • A driver who falls asleep and runs through an intersection without stopping.
  • A pedestrian who darts into traffic immediately in front of a vehicle.

There is no excuse for failing to yield. All motorists should use reasonable care when driving. Pedestrians also need to follow the law.

Contributory Negligence & Failure to Yield

Sometimes, accident victims are accused of failing to yield. For example, two motorists might have run a red light and crashed into each other. In this case, both are negligent.

  • Georgia’s comparative negligence law allows you to seek compensation so long as you are under 50% liable for the crash. If you failed to yield, you could easily be denied any compensation.
  • Georgia’s comparative negligence law is harsh. For that reason, you shouldn’t be surprised if the other side alleges you were careless. To protect your rights, remember to follow the law!

Proving a Failure to Yield

We need proof of what happened to make a successful claim. Given the comparative negligence rule, many motorists have an incentive to blame you for the accident. They might claim you ran a red, failed to yield, or darted into traffic as a pedestrian.

How do you prove you aren’t to blame? Put differently, how do you prove you followed the right of way laws and yielded properly?

Some accidents will have video evidence. For example, your crash might have occurred right outside a gas station or other business which has security cameras pointed at the road. These cameras possibly recorded the crash and can answer who followed the right of way rules. We can ask a business to save the video for our use.

Other accidents will depend on witness testimony. You are a witness and can testify, but it’s best to have third-party witnesses back up your story. Hopefully, other motorists will stop after a crash. You should also call the police to come out to the accident scene. The officer can speak to witnesses, too.

Call a Georgia Car Accident Attorney Today

Were you injured in a car wreck? A driver who failed to respect your right of way could be to blame. At Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys, we can negotiate a settlement or even sue a negligent driver. Our law firm has had excellent success winning these cases on behalf of our clients. Let us judge the strength of your evidence and determine your legal rights. Call (404) 529-3476 today.

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