Right-of-Way Laws in Oklahoma
Legal Assistance for Injured Victims in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Right-of-way laws are practical and courteous. If these laws did not exist, encounters between motorists could result in chaos. But still, far too many Oklahoma drivers tend to disregard these simple rules and place others at risk. The vast majority of accidents are the result of human error, and an unwillingness to yield to other motorists is a prime example of this.
Here are some of Oklahoma’s rules when it comes to right-of-way:
At a Traffic Signal
Almost everyone who drives already knows these rules, but we have them here just to make sure:
- Green light: Vehicles may advance straight ahead, or make either a left or right turn unless a sign indicates otherwise. Motorists who are turning must yield to vehicles going straight, and also to pedestrians who are lawfully in the intersection.
- Green arrow: Vehicles may enter the intersection and move in the direction the arrow indicates. Be sure to look for wayward pedestrians just in case.
- Red light: Vehicles must halt at the marked line, or if no line exists, stop just prior to the crosswalk. Unless a sign indicates otherwise, traffic may turn to the right, or to the left on one-way (directional) roads while yielding to cross-traffic or pedestrians.
Approaching an Intersection
If a driver is approaching an intersection, regardless of whether a stop or yield sign can be seen, he may not proceed until any vehicles traveling through the intersection have passed. This applies when a motorist is on one of the following:
- A county road that meets a federal or state highway
- Any private, unmaintained roadway such as a driveway that meets a county, state, or federal road
- A county road that is not paved that meets a paved road
In instances where two motorists approach from separate highways simultaneously, the vehicle on the right will have the right-of-way.
Approaching an Intersection with a Stop or Yield Sign
Drivers approaching an intersection with a yield sign should proceed slowly and cautiously and allow any pedestrians to cross. If two vehicles simultaneously arrive at a four-way stop sign, the vehicle on the right has the right-of-way.
If one driver has a stop sign and another driver is to slow down or use caution, the second driver has right-of-way. When one driver is to slow down and the other to use caution, the second driver has right-of-way. Regardless, any vehicle that has already arrived at the intersection and begun traveling through maintains the right-of-way.
Entering Street from Driveway, Private Road, Alley, or Parking Lot
Drivers approaching a public street from a driveway, private road, or alley are always to yield to vehicles on the public street. In commercial or residential settings, these drivers must also yield to any pedestrians on the sidewalk.
Encountering Emergency Vehicles
When an emergency or police vehicle is using lights and sirens, all drivers are to yield the right-of-way. Drivers should safely proceed toward the right side of the road and halt until these vehicles have passed. Drivers then may proceed unless instructed by law enforcement to do otherwise.
In the absence of traffic signals, drivers should yield to pedestrians who are crossing at crosswalks or approaching from the other half of the road. If a motorist has stopped just prior to a marked or unmarked crosswalk to allow pedestrians to cross, other approaching motorists from behind must do the same.
Drivers must yield to blind people who may be crossing the roads. They may be identified by the accompaniment of a service dog or use of a cane. Drivers must remain cautious in areas where they may encounter children, as children are unlikely to have knowledge about right-of-way laws, and being careful is better than being "right" when it comes to children’s safety.
If You Were Injured in Oklahoma, Talk to Car Accident Help
Many drivers choose to disregard the "rules of the road" such as obeying traffic signs, signals, and right-of-way laws. When the reckless or careless actions of another driver cause an accident, that driver can be held liable for the victim’s injuries and damages. At Car Accident Help, we offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has been in a car accident in Oklahoma. Call (405) 285-4357 today.
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