Understand Right of Way and How Failure to Yield Can Cause Dangerous Crashes

Gabriel A. Assaad
Partner Gabriel Assaad represents victims of negligence and medical malpractice nationwide.

Every year in the United States, over five million car accidents occur. In Texas last year, there were over 13,000 crashes that caused serious injury. With so many vehicles on the road, accidents are bound to happen. Traffic congestion, bad weather, and poor road conditions all can contribute to dangerous accidents. The most frequent causes of crashes, however, are related to driver error and poor decisions. The dangers of speeding, impaired driving, and distracted driving receive quite a bit of attention. One common issue is that receives little consideration, however, is failure to yield. Nationally, over 3,000 drivers were involved in failure to yield accidents in 2013, accounting for nearly seven percent of all fatal accidents.

What Is Failure to Yield?

It is necessary for rules to exist to ensure the safety of drivers, passengers, and anyone else who shares the road. One key rule is that of the right of way. Right of way determines which vehicles can proceed with precedence over other nearby vehicles. Essentially, it dictates who is allowed to go Yellow Yield Right of Way Signand when. Failure to yield occurs when a driver ignores the rules of right of way and proceeds into traffic.

There is no one vehicle that is always given right of way, with the exception of emergency vehicles. Every situation is different and right of way is determined based on several factors, which can include who arrived first, the status of traffic signs or lights, and more. It is necessary to always yield to pedestrians at intersections and crosswalks. Bicycles are considered vehicles and as such must adhere to the same rules as cars when traveling on the road.

Some Spots on the Road Are More Susceptible to Failure to Yield Crashes

There are a few situations in which failure to yield accidents are very common. Drivers should take care when traversing these conditions, which include:

  • Entering a roadway from a driveway or parking lot.
  • Merging with existing traffic.
  • Turning left at an intersection.
  • Approaching a flashing yellow light.
  • Approaching an intersection governed by two or more stop signs.

In Texas last year, failing to yield at a stop sign and failing to yield a left turn accounted for over 10,000 crashes, including over 110 fatal accidents. In these situations, there is always a driver who has the right to continue or to go first and a driver who must yield. Drivers should take caution and be respectful of the rules of the road to avoid trouble, especially in these spots.

Failure to Yield Accidents Are Avoidable

There are any number of reasons why a driver may fail to yield. One of the most common responses from a driver whose failure to yield has caused an accident is that he simply did not see the oncoming vehicle, especially in cases that involve motorcyclists or bicyclists. Other common causes include the misjudgment of speed, misunderstanding of the right of way, recklessness, and more.

Most of these accidents are avoidable when a driver exercises a reasonable amount of care. Some good ideas to help prevent a failure to yield accident include:

  • Never assume another driver will stop or perform another maneuver.
  • Never force right of way or force your way into traffic.
  • Try to make eye contact with other drivers who are sharing the intersection or stop.
  • Adhere to the rules of right of way.
  • Know the intersections and roadways that experience a high volume of crashes and plan your trip accordingly.
  • Take your time.

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a car accident when another driver failed to yield, you may be able to file a claim. The experienced accident attorneys at Kennedy Hodges, LLP, are here to help those in Texas, Washington, D.C., and all across the country obtain the justice and compensation they deserve after another driver’s negligence has left them with physical pain, emotional stress, and financial pressure. Take a moment to fill out our online contact form, and you’ll receive a prompt response from a member of our team who can help you understand your rights and legal options.