What Does Yielding the Right of Way Mean?

When two cars approach an intersection on a collision course with each other, one of them must yield to the other car in order to avoid a traffic accident. The car that doesn’t have to yield is said to have the right of way. Yielding is also necessary for other traffic situations, such as merging onto a highway and navigating a roundabout. Distressingly, a high percentage of drivers don’t fully understand the rules for yielding in Texas. 

Yielding in Texas Traffic: The Rules (Most of Them)

Texas applies right of way rules that may differ in some respects from the rules in other states. Although states have largely harmonized the rules, some differences remain. 

In Texas, you must yield the right of way: 

  • When you reach a yield sign. You don’t necessarily need to stop, but you do need to yield. 
  • When you reach a pedestrian crosswalk. In Texas, Pedestrians almost always have the right of way.
  • When another vehicle is already in the intersection.
  • When turning left, always yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

At a four-way stop, the car that stopped first has the right of way. If two cars stop at the same time, the car on the right has the right of way. The same rules apply to intersections without traffic lights or stop signs or where a traffic light is malfunctioning. Texas applies other rights of way rules that space limitations prohibit listing here.

Deadly Consequences: Failure to Yield and Rollover Accidents

Rollover accidents, when the vehicle rolls over onto its roof, are among the most dangerous of all accidents. Rollover accidents are particularly likely to happen when one driver fails to yield the right of way. 

Unfortunately, it is usually not the at-fault driver who suffers the rollover but the driver who was following the rules. SUVs are among the most likely vehicles to suffer rollover accidents because of their high center of gravity.

Drive Defensively

Driving defensively means, among other things, relinquishing your right of way to an aggressive or inattentive driver to avoid an accident. Relinquishing the right of way is not the same as yielding the right of way. 

Relinquishing the right of way means allowing another driver to go before you do, even though you have the legal right of way. After all, allowing another driver to get away with behaving selfishly is far superior to lying in a hospital bed.

Don’t Inappropriately Relinquish Your Right of Way

Don’t relinquish your right of way unless you are certain that the driver you are considering relinquishing it to is confused (at a roundabout, for example), or if failure to relinquish your right away risks an accident. 

Don’t relinquish your right of way just to be polite because doing so will confuse other drivers, especially the driver immediately behind you. You could get rear-ended in exchange for your courtesy.

Failure to Yield Is Against the Law

Failure to yield is against the law. It could result in a traffic ticket, loss of your driver’s license, or even manslaughter charges if someone dies in an accident caused by failure to yield.

If you suffer an injury caused by a driver who illegally failed to yield, you are in a position to file a claim against a defendant who injured you by breaking the law. It is a lot easier to win a negligence case by proving the defendant broke the law than by asking the jury to decide the case on the totality of the circumstances. 

Hire a Lawyer

If you have suffered a serious injury or property damage caused by a driver who failed to yield, an experienced personal injury lawyer could become an indispensable ally. Consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to find out how much your claim is worth and how you can best pursue it. Personal injury lawyers usually charge you nothing unless they win your case.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Texas

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth or Dallas and need legal help, contact our personal injury lawyers at Anderson Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation.

Fort Worth Office1310 W El Paso St, Fort Worth, TX 76102, United States
(817) 294-1900

Dallas Office408 W Eighth St Suite 202, Dallas, TX 75208, United States
(214) 327-8000