Hello folks, Attorney Paul Samakow with you again. 

Today I’d like to discuss an extremely common cause of auto collision and collisions involving pedestrians and bicyclists—failing to yield right-of-way. 

So, what exactly does it mean to yield right-of-way?  

Yielding right-of-way basically means you’re allowing other drivers or pedestrians to go first even if you may have the legal right to move forward.  This can happen when you’re driving through an intersection and another driver is already in the intersection. In this instant, you let the other driver go first, even if you have the green light.  This is because, yielding right of way is about more than just obeying traffic laws, it’s about driving safely.  

Other ways you may fail to yield right of way include: 

  • Failing to stop at a stop sign or red light.  If a driver fails to stop at a stop sign or red light, this can cause a collision with another vehicle, a pedestrian, or a cyclist.
  • Merging onto a highway or changing lanes without checking for other vehicles.  If you do not check for oncoming vehicles, or if you neglect your blind spot, this can cause a failure to yield auto collision.  
  • Turning in front of oncoming traffic. If you make a left turn in front of oncoming traffic without yielding, this can have dire consequences. 
  • Ignoring pedestrian crossings.  Pedestrians have the right-of-way when they are crossing a marked crosswalk.  Ignoring this can cause horrible injuries and death. 
  • Failing to yield to emergency vehicles.  If an emergency vehicle is coming your way with its lights and sirens on, you must yield the right-of-way and pull over to the side of the road. 
  • Failing to yield at a roundabout.  If a driver is already in a roundabout, they have the right-of-way.  Only enter a roundabout if and when it is safe to do so.  

Failing to yield the right-of-way can lead to collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists.  It can cause devastating injuries and legal consequences, possibly even criminal charges, not to mention an increase in your insurance rates.  

Having your eyes on the road and your mind on your surroundings and destination will help you to be aware of who has the right-of-way.  

Lastly, if you or someone you love is ever involved in an auto collision because someone failed to yield right-of-way for you, I am here for you.  Please call my office immediately 703-854-9288 or 301-298-8383.

Until next time, please be safe, and NEVER text while driving!

Paul Samakow

Attorney Paul Samakow

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