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The Rules of Right of Way

June 26, 2021

Right-of-way rules combined with courtesy and common sense help ensure the safety of all motorists that share the road. For example, giving another motorist the right-of-way helps prevent a collision that could damage property and injure other motorists. If you get into an accident with a driver who has violated the right-of-way laws, get in touch with our experienced California auto accident lawyer to learn more about your legal options.

Essential Right of Way Rules in California


  • Don’t pass vehicles waiting at crosswalks.
  • While pedestrians, like motorists, should always follow traffic rules, they always have the right-of-way, even when they’re in the wrong. 
  • Don’t drive on sidewalks except for crossing them, and if you cross, always yield to pedestrians. 
  • Always stop within five feet of crosswalks to enable safe crossing for pedestrians.
  • Always give the right-of-way to blind individuals who have signaled with their canes that they’re about to enter a crosswalk. Proceed only when you’re given a clear signal to do so, such as pulling back their cane.   
  • Pedestrians automatically have the right-of-way in all crosswalks, whether marked or unmarked.

It’s important to note that pedestrians are anyone who’s on foot, a skateboard, rollers skates/blades, tricycle, wheelchair, or any kind of personal conveyance, not including bicycles. Drivers must always give pedestrians the right-of-way. 


  • Always slow down and be prepared to stop at all intersections, whether unmarked or marked.
  • Always give right-of-way to bicycles or vehicles that are approaching fast.
  • Always yield to any traffic on through roads when approaching unmarked intersections.
  • On four-way stops, always yield to the vehicles that are already in place and then to vehicles on the right.
  • When turning left, always give right-of-way to vehicles that are close enough to pose a hazard.


  • All vehicles that enter and exit should yield to vehicles already in roundabouts.
  • Never stop and yield to vehicles trying to enter a roundabout if you’re already in the roundabout. While you might think that you’re being courteous, doing so actually increases the risk of an accident.
  • If you miss an exit, move on to the next exit.
  • Always signal when exiting roundabouts or changing lanes. 

On Mountain Roads

  • Always exercise extra caution when driving around California, especially on very steep roads and mountainous areas.
  • When driving on steep roads, uphill-facing vehicles should always be given the right-of-way by downhill-facing vehicles. 

Talk to an Experienced California Auto Accident Attorney Today

Failing to follow the right-of-way rules could and often does lead to pedestrian accidents and auto accidents. If you have sustained injuries in an auto accident resulting from a driver violating one of the right-of-way rules, reach out to our experienced California auto accident attorney here at Bogaards Law for legal assistance. We can help determine and prove fault for the accident and explore recovery sources to compensate for all the losses you incurred due to the accident and your injuries. Contact us online or call us to arrange your free case review and figure out the next best steps for your case.


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