What is the Law for When a Driver Must Yield the Right of Way?

Yield Street SignThe rules regarding yielding on the roads vary depending on which types of vehicles are involved and the types of roads they are traveling on. Drivers of motor vehicles must generally yield to non-motor vehicles like bicycles and pedestrians. We have broken down the rules by statute so you know how to respond to other vehicles and people on the roads when driving your car.

Vehicles Turning Left

Florida Statute 316.122 —The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction, or vehicles lawfully passing on the left of the turning vehicle, which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard. A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.

What does that mean? Generally, a vehicle turning left must yield right of way to vehicles coming from the opposite direction which are going straight or turning.
 

Operation of Vehicles and Actions of Pedestrians On Approach of Authorized Emergency Vehicle

Florida Statute 316.126 - (1)(a)Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle, while en route to meet an existing emergency, the driver of every other vehicle shall, when such emergency vehicle is giving audible signals by siren, exhaust whistle, or other adequate device, or visible signals by the use of displayed blue or red lights, yield the right-of-way to the emergency vehicle and shall immediately proceed to a position parallel to, and as close as reasonable to the closest edge of the curb of the roadway, clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, unless otherwise directed by any law enforcement officer.

  • (b)When an authorized emergency vehicle making use of any visual signals is parked or a wrecker displaying amber rotating or flashing lights is performing a recovery or loading on the roadside, the driver of every other vehicle, as soon as it is safe:
    1. Shall vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle or wrecker when driving on an interstate highway or other highway with two or more lanes traveling in the direction of the emergency vehicle or wrecker, except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer. If such movement cannot be safely accomplished, the driver shall reduce speed as provided in subparagraph 2.
    2. Shall slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or greater; or travel at 5 miles per hour when the posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less, when driving on a two-lane road, except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer.
  • (c)The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall provide an educational awareness campaign informing the motoring public about the Move Over Act. The department shall provide information about the Move Over Act in all newly printed driver’s license educational materials after July 1, 2002.
  • (2)Every pedestrian using the road right-of-way shall yield the right-of-way until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, unless otherwise directed by any police officer.
  • (3)Any authorized emergency vehicle, when en route to meet an existing emergency, shall warn all other vehicular traffic along the emergency route by an audible signal, siren, exhaust whistle, or other adequate device or by a visible signal by the use of displayed blue or red lights. While en route to such emergency, the emergency vehicle shall otherwise proceed in a manner consistent with the laws regulating vehicular traffic upon the highways of this state.
  • (4)Nothing herein contained shall diminish or enlarge any rules of evidence or liability in any case involving the operation of an emergency vehicle.
  • (5)This section shall not operate to relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.
  • (6)A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable pursuant to chapter 318 as either a moving violation for infractions of subsection (1) or subsection (3), or as a pedestrian violation for infractions of subsection (2).

What does this mean? If an emergency vehicle (police car, ambulance, fire truck, etc.) is approaching with sirens or lights on, you must get out of the way. Motor vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians all must yield the right of way to emergency vehicles. Pull your vehicle over to the nearest curb and wait there until the emergency vehicle has passed.

If you are passing a stopped emergency vehicle, you must move over so that there is an empty lane between your vehicle and the emergency vehicles, or reduce your speed to 20 mph below the speed limit.

Emergency vehicle drivers are subject to traffic infractions. Just like you and me, they must drive safely.
 

Vehicle Entering Stop or Yield Intersection

Florida Statute 316.123 —(1)The right-of-way at an intersection may be indicated by stop signs or yield signs as authorized in 316.006.

  • (2)(a)Except when directed to proceed by a police officer or traffic control signal, every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop intersection indicated by a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection. After having stopped, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which has entered the intersection from another highway or which is approaching so closely on said highway as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection.
  • (b)At a four-way stop intersection, the driver of the first vehicle to stop at the intersection shall be the first to proceed. If two or more vehicles reach the four-way stop intersection at the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.
  • (3)The driver of a vehicle approaching a yield sign shall, in obedience to such sign, slow down to a speed reasonable for the existing conditions and, if required for safety to stop, shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or, if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway. After slowing or stopping, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the driver is moving across or within the intersection. If such a driver is involved in a collision with a pedestrian in a crosswalk or a vehicle in the intersection, after driving past a yield sign without stopping, the collision shall be deemed prima facie evidence of the driver’s failure to yield the right-of-way.
  • (4)A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.

What does this mean? You must stop at the stop bar (painted white line on the road) or, if there is no stop bar, before the place where the sidewalk meets the road when approaching an intersection with a stop sign.

At four way stops, the first vehicle to stop at the intersection has right of way. If more than one vehicle stops at the same time, the driver to the right has right of way.

A yield sign requires drivers to slow down or stop before a crosswalk if required for safety. The driver must yield the right of way to vehicles on the intersecting roadway. If the driver with the yield sign strikes a pedestrian in a crosswalk or a vehicle in the intersection, the driver will be deemed at fault for the accident.
 

Vehicle Entering Highway From Private Road or Driveway or Emergin From Alley, Driveway or Building

Florida Statute 316.125—(1)The driver of a vehicle about to enter or cross a highway from an alley, building, private road or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching on the highway to be entered which are so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.

  • (2)The driver of a vehicle emerging from an alley, building, private road or driveway within a business or residence district shall stop the vehicle immediately prior to driving onto a sidewalk or onto the sidewalk area extending across the alley, building entrance, road or driveway, or in the event there is no sidewalk area, shall stop at the point nearest the street to be entered where the driver has a view of approaching traffic thereon and shall yield to all vehicles and pedestrians which are so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.
  • (3)A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.
     

Vehicles Approaching or Entering Intersections

Florida Statute 316.121— (1)The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle which has entered the intersection from a different highway.

  • (2)When two vehicles enter an intersection from different highways at the same time the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.
  • (3)The driver of a vehicle about to enter or cross a state-maintained road or highway from a paved or unpaved road and not subject to control by an official traffic control device shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching on the state-maintained road or highway.
  • (4)The driver of a vehicle about to enter or cross a paved county-maintained or city-maintained road or highway from an unpaved road or highway and not subject to control by an official traffic control device shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching on said paved road or highway.
  • (5)The foregoing rules are modified at through highways and otherwise, as hereinafter stated.
  • (6)A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.

What does this mean? Drivers approaching a highway from a smaller or unpaved road must yield to vehicles on the highway. If two vehicles enter the intersection at the same time, the driver to the right has the right of way.

If you or someone you care about was injured or killed by someone who violated the right of way, you should speak with an experienced attorney. Contact us online or call us directly at 888.815.6398 to discuss your legal options. Every consultation is free. In fact, you will never have to write us a check. After your case is resolved at trial or via settlement, we will write you a check.