Maintaining the correct flow of traffic requires all drivers and other road users – including bicyclists and pedestrians – to obey Arizona’s right-of-way laws. The right-of-way is the legal right to proceed across a roadway or into an intersection. These laws are in place to maintain traffic patterns and prevent two streams of traffic from colliding with each other. Violating right-of-way laws can lead to deadly automobile accidents.
What Is the Right-of-Way?
In traffic law, right-of-way means the legal right for a road user to proceed. It is a law that states when the right-of-way must be yielded to someone else. For example, most states give pedestrians the right-of-way to cross. Arizona Revised Statute Section 28-792 states that a vehicle driver must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the road within a crosswalk if traffic control signals are not in place or in operation, and if the pedestrian is in the half of the road in which the vehicle is traveling.
Yielding or giving up the right-of-way means to slow down or come to a complete stop to let another road user proceed ahead of you. At a four-way stop, for example, all drivers should come to a complete stop at the stop sign. Then, all drivers must remain stopped to allow the driver that approached the intersection first to proceed across the intersection. Only when a road user has the right-of-way may he or she proceed across the road or into an intersection. When rights-of-way laws are violated, car accidents can take place.
What Are Arizona’s Right-of-Way Laws?
You can help prevent automobile accidents in Arizona by knowing and obeying the state’s right-of-way laws. These laws apply to you whether you operate a truck, car, motorcycle, bicycle or travel as a pedestrian. You should never assume you automatically have the right-of-way. Take each situation carefully into account to determine who has the right to proceed and when it is your turn.
Below is a summary of Arizona’s right-of-way laws:
- Vehicle drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing within a crosswalk.
- If a vehicle is stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, another vehicle cannot pass.
- A pedestrian cannot suddenly leave a curb or place of safety to walk into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to be impossible for the driver to yield.
- At a controlled intersection, pedestrians must wait for the “Walk” signal to proceed.
- A pedestrian crossing anywhere other than a crosswalk or intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway (A.R.S. 28-793).
- Between adjacent intersections with traffic control signals, a pedestrian cannot cross the road except at a crosswalk (also known as jaywalking).
- At a stop sign, the driver who approaches first has the right-of-way.
- If two or more drivers approach an intersection at the same time, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right.
- At an intersection with a traffic control signal, those shown a steady green signal have the right to proceed.
- When making a left turn at a steady green light, the turning driver must yield to oncoming traffic in the opposite lane.
- Drivers who are shown a blinking red light must stop and yield to others who were there first.
- Drivers who are shown a blinking yellow light must proceed with caution but do not have to stop.
Arizona’s right-of-way laws can be difficult to understand, especially when trying to determine fault for a car accident that occurred in an intersection. If you get involved in a collision that appears to involve a violated right-of-way law, contact an attorney to discuss your legal options. The lawyers at The Law Offices of John Phebus can review your case and help you comprehend your legal rights. We know how to interpret and apply Arizona’s right-of-way laws to car accident cases.