What Does Yielding the Right of Way Mean?

What Does Yielding the Right of Way Mean?

Learning the proper circumstances to allow someone the right of way is one of the most important lessons any driver can learn. Doing so can not only keep drivers safe but also avoid several kinds of otherwise preventable accidents. 

Yielding the Right of Way: What Does It Entail?

Yielding the right of way simply refers to allowing other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists to enter and cross an intersection ahead of you. Doing so in certain situations is not only your legal duty, but it’s also the courteous thing to do. Failure to yield the right of way can result in traffic violations, along with auto accidents, property damage, and injuries. 

What Does Texas Law Say About the Right of Way?

Respecting the law can help avoid legal penalties and collisions with drivers and pedestrians, and Texas law provides clear directions on yielding the right of way:

Stop Signs

At a four-way stop, the driver that arrives at the stop first has the right of way. Cars should take turns crossing the intersection in the order of their arrival. If it is unclear which vehicle arrived first, the driver on the left should give the driver on the right the right of way. 


It’s not uncommon for two vehicles to arrive at an uncontrolled intersection at the same time. When that happens, the vehicle on the left must yield to the vehicle on the right. When attempting to make a left turn but noticing that there is oncoming traffic, the driver must yield to that traffic before turning.


Pedestrians have the right of way under specific circumstances, such as:

  • When a crosswalk light indicates that it is safe for them to cross
  • When they are in the process of crossing the street, even if the pedestrian light has already turned red

Pedestrians shouldn’t cross the street illegally, of course, but if they do, drivers must still yield the right of way to avoid any accidents. Watching for pedestrians is one of the most critical reasons to keep your eyes on the road at all times. 

Emergency Vehicles

You must always yield to emergency vehicles that have their lights and sirens on, even if you would otherwise have the right of way. When emergency vehicles approach, pull over to the side of the road as safely as possible to allow them unrestricted access, then proceed. 

Traffic Lights and Their Impact on the Right of Way

Determining who has the right of way depends on the light drivers are faced with:

  • Green: Having the green light indicates you have the right of way, but it is still important to stay alert for drivers that enter the intersection wrongfully
  • Yellow: Although you still have the right of way when a traffic light turns yellow, Texas law says you should not speed up and instead slow down, preparing to stop
  • Red: When you have a red light, the opposite traffic has the right of way, so you must stop (you may turn right from the right lane in Texas, but make sure you yield to oncoming traffic)

Traffic lights make it easy to figure out who has the right of way, but unfortunately, many drivers fail to respect these signals, making it one of the common causes of auto accidents on Texas roads.

A Right of Way Violation Can Impact Your Car Accident Case

Failing to yield the right of way often results in vehicular and pedestrian collisions. If you suffer injuries in a crash caused by a right-of-way incident, seek legal assistance right away.

Evidence of the other driver’s failure to yield could help prove liability and strengthen your claim. A Texas car accident attorney can handle your case and assist with obtaining the most beneficial result. 

Contact the Texas Car Accident Lawyers of The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

Please contact an experienced car accident lawyer at The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd Personal Injury Lawyers to get a free initial consultation today. We have offices in Friendswood and Galveston, Texas. Call us at (281) 992-8633.

The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd Personal Injury Lawyers – Galveston
2101 Mechanic St. Suite 253
Galveston, TX 77550

The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd Personal Injury Lawyers
312 S. Friendswood Dr.
Friendswood, TX 77546