When you drive around Phoenix, you come across countless other vehicles occupying the same roads as you. Though people are all moving in different directions, they do so in an organized fashion thanks in part to the state laws that govern the flow of traffic. While some rules are clear, others are more confusing and can lead drivers to make mistakes or to err, potentially leading to a car accident. One area of the law that regularly gives rise to questions continues to be the right-of-way, and how to respect it.
Put simply, the right-of-way determines who or which vehicle gets to continue moving before others in the area. It allows one driver priority to move into an intersection, across a road, or in another direction while others must yield, or wait. In most cases, issues with the right-of-way arise when vehicles traveling in opposite directions cross paths and in particular at intersections that are not otherwise controlled.
If you approach an area that is controlled by a traffic light, a stop sign, a yield sign, or another device, make sure you obey that signal and allow other traffic to proceed where appropriate. But what happens if you approach an area without a clear indication of who should go first?
Under Arizona law, if two vehicles approach an unmarked intersection from opposite directions, the driver on the vehicle on the left should yield the right-of-way to the driver on the right. Once the driver on the right has proceeded, the driver on the left can continue on her way. However, if two drivers are traveling in opposite directions and one intends to make a left hand turn in an intersection, the driver intending to turn left should yield the right-of-way to the driver who will be continuing straight. If a driver intends to merge into a lane of traffic in the same direction as traffic which is already present, that merging driver should yield the right-of-way to the other vehicles already using the roadway.
It is important to note that these standard rules can vary in the event of an emergency. Therefore, if a police officer directs you to operate in a manner other than that which is specified by Arizona law, you should obey the officer. Further, if an emergency vehicle approaches you while driving and the emergency vehicle has its lights and sirens activated, you should yield to that vehicle and pull your car over to the right side of the road where appropriate.
The right-of-way should be understood to be a tool that not only facilitates the movement of traffic but that also ensures safety, preventing cars from colliding with one another by enabling drivers to take turns in a predictable order. Unfortunately, though, some motorists ignore the right-of-way and cause car accidents and injuries while driving Maricopa County, threatening the safety of everyone nearby.
If you were the victim of a car accident caused by a non-yielding driver, know that you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages and for any injuries you sustained. If you have questions about your legal options, call the law firm of Abels & Annes, P.C. toll free at (855) PHX-LAWYER or locally at (602) 819-5191 where we have a lawyer standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We offer a case consultation without cost or obligation to all those victims who contact us and we keep everything discussed during the consultation confidential.
If you have been injured, call Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let us fight for the relief you deserve.
Prior Blog Entry:
Tips for Choosing a Motorcycle Helmet, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published January 13, 2016.