One of the most important traffic rules drivers should follow is the right-of-way rule, which determines whose turn it is to drive and when – usually at intersections, roundabouts, or when making a turn. Unfortunately, accidents caused by drivers who misjudge whose turn it is to drive forward – in what is called a failure-to-yield accident – are all too common. Our attorneys explain the right-of-way rules for drivers in Washington and your options if you have been involved in an accident at an intersection.

What Are the Right-Of-Way Rules for Drivers on Washington Roads?

Like many other states, Washington drivers have to observe right-of-way rules at intersections, four-way stops, and roundabouts. There are also specific rules concerning yielding to pedestrians and emergency vehicles. For example, when more than one driver arrives at a four-way stop, the driver who arrived first has the right-of-way, followed by the driver who arrived second, and so on.

If two vehicles arrive simultaneously, the one on the right may go first. When exiting a parking lot or turning left at an intersection, you must yield your right-of-way to oncoming traffic. When entering a roundabout, vehicles on the left have the right of way.

What Are the Right-Of-Way Rules for Emergency Vehicles and Pedestrians?

If an emergency vehicle such as a police cruiser, ambulance, or fire truck has lights and sirens on, you must yield the right-of-way to the emergency vehicle and pull over to the right side of the road, allowing the vehicle to pass. If stopped at a red light, you should stay put and not block the intersection.

Pedestrians will usually have the right-of-way in many situations, such as when a pedestrian is crossing a marked or unmarked crosswalk; when a vehicle is pulling out of a driveway or parking lot; if a pedestrian is crossing the street, and when a blind person or a person with a service animal or blind cane is crossing the road.

How Is Liability Determined in a Failure-To-Yield Accident?

In most cases, when a yield sign is visible and a driver fails to yield their right-of-way, colliding with another vehicle, Washington traffic laws will likely consider that driver responsible for the accident. Evidence from the scene of the accident such as pictures, videos, and witnesses may also be used to determine who was responsible for a failure-to-yield collision.

If you were hit by a driver who failed to yield at an intersection, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages, and an attorney can help you with this process. At Church & Page PLLC, we can help victims of failure-to-yield accidents fight for fair compensation. Contact us at (509) 638-1414.