Stephen Schultz | October 7, 2022 | Missouri Law
Driving a car requires people to make decisions constantly. Can I make it through this yellow light? Do I have enough time to enter the roundabout?
We all know how good it feels when someone voluntarily lets us pull in front of them on the roads when we need to merge or change lanes. A term was even coined for how you express gratitude to these kind people with a “courtesy wave.”
Sometimes when driving in Missouri, you are required to slow down for another vehicle or let a pedestrian pass in front of you. These are called right-of-way laws, and they apply even if there isn’t a sign or a traffic signal on the scene. If they aren’t followed, you could get a ticket or a fine, and you might even cause an accident.
What “Right of Way” Means in Missouri
Right-of-way laws and rules come into play where vehicles or pedestrians are likely to be in the same place at the same time and when there aren’t signs or traffic signals to follow. Typically, decisions about who yields and when to yield arise at intersections, when an emergency vehicle approaches, and when pedestrians are part of the equation.
Who Has the Right of Way at Intersections and Roundabouts?
The rules of yielding the right of way are essential to bringing order to Missouri streets and highways. Once you learn them and apply them over and over, they hopefully become part of a driver’s muscle memory.
When the rules aren’t followed, car accidents can happen.
Generally, in Missouri, drivers need to remember:
- At a four-way stop, the first driver to approach the intersection has the right of way.
- If there is no signal or stop sign at an intersection, drivers yield the right of way to vehicles coming from their right side.
- In roundabouts, drivers yield to vehicles in all lanes of traffic and any pedestrians.
- When making a left-hand turn, the driver needs to yield to oncoming vehicles.
The rules are straightforward and make sense, but another layer of complexity arises when pedestrians are present.
Pedestrians and Right of Way Rules
Whether pedestrians have to yield the right of way depends upon where they are walking.
They have the right of way when they are walking across a road in a crosswalk or other legally designated area. When a pedestrian crosses illegally, a driver still needs to yield the right of way.
Pedestrians have to yield the right of way to vehicles that have a green light at an intersection. Understandably, blind pedestrians always have the right of way.
Drivers need to yield to pedestrians who are going into or out of parking lots, driveways, or alleys.
Emergency Vehicles and Funeral Processions
In Missouri, drivers must yield the right of way to emergency vehicles when their sirens and flashing lights are turned on. If you are on the road, pull over to the side until the vehicle passes. If you find yourself in an intersection as they approach, go through the intersection and pull over as soon as you can.
Drivers also have to yield the right of way to funeral processions. This is the case no matter what the traffic signals or signs say. In the right-of-way hierarchy, funeral processions yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles.
If you don’t follow the right-of-way laws, you could end up with a fine and points on your driver’s license. Even more serious than penalties, failing to yield the right of way can be dangerous and could result in a car accident. If there is a question as to which party is at fault, an investigation may need to be conducted.
Call a St. Louis Car Accident Attorney With Questions or If You’ve Been in a Collision
If you have been in a car accident that was caused by a failure to yield the right of way, you may have questions about liability and damages. An experienced St. Louis car accident attorney will be able to assess your case and answer your questions.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in St. Louis, MO
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in St. Louis, please contact Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:
St. Louis, MO Law Office
1430 Washington Ave Ste 225, St. Louis, MO 63103
Ladue, MO Law Office
9807 S 40 Dr, St. Louis, MO 63124
Creve Coeur, MO Law Office
999 Executive Pkwy Dr #205, Creve Coeur, MO 63141