What Does it Mean to Yield to the Right of Way?

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Many car accidents occur due to a driver’s failure to yield the right-of-way. Every driver has a duty to yield to other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists in certain locations, such as at an intersection or roundabout. Failure to yield can lead to accidents, as well as penalties to the at-fault driver.
Several Texas traffic laws govern the right-of-way in various traffic events, from sharing the road with an emergency vehicle to approaching a four-way stop sign. If you are in an accident with a driver who fails to yield the right-of-way, you may be eligible for financial compensation in a car accident lawsuit with the help of a Houston accident lawyer.

What Does it Mean to Yield to the Right of Way?

Texas Right-of-Way Laws

Yielding the right-of-way refers to a driver’s responsibility to stop or slow down in certain traffic situations. For example, if you are driving on the road and an emergency vehicle is approaching, you must yield the right of way if the vehicle has its bell, siren, or lights on. You will need to either pull over in a safe location or move into another lane.


The purpose of right-of-way laws is to reduce the chances of collisions between vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians. When approaching an intersection, you must adhere to the following rules:

  • If you are approaching the road from a driveway, parking lot, alley, or another road entry point, the traffic on the main road holds the right-of-way.
  • If you are driving on an unpaved road and approach a paved road, the traffic traveling on the paved road has the right-of-way.
  • If you are making a right-hand turn, through traffic and pedestrians have the right-of-way. If you are making a left turn, opposing traffic and pedestrians also hold the right-of-way.
  • If you are approaching an uncontrolled intersection, or an intersection that does not have stop or yield signs, you must yield the right-of-way to vehicles currently traveling through the intersection. If you approach the intersection at the same time as another vehicle, you must yield to the vehicle on your right.


Motorists have a duty to drive safely around and remain aware of pedestrians on or near the road. When approaching pedestrians, you must adhere to the following right-of-way rules.

  • Pedestrians always have the right-of-way at green lights, even if there is no walk signal.
  • Pedestrians retain the right-of-way if they are crossing the street and the light changes to red while they are still in the intersection.
  • If a pedestrian is violating the law while crossing the road, you must yield the right-of-way.

Failure to yield the right-of-way is a traffic violation in Texas. If you fail to yield, you will need to pay a fine between $50 to $200. If the pedestrian accident results in an injury, you may need to pay a $500 to $2,000 fine. If the injuries are very serious, the fine can increase again to $1,000 to $4,000.

What to Do If Another Driver Fails to Yield the Right-of-Way

Texas is a fault insurance state, which requires drivers who are responsible for car accidents to pay for their victims’ damages. Drivers owe a duty to follow traffic laws and drive safely on the road, and failure to yield the right-of-way is a breach of this duty. If you are in an accident with a driver who fails to yield the right-of-way, you could file an insurance claim or lawsuit against him or her.
As soon as possible following your accident, contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can evaluate your case and identify your optimal path to maximum recovery.

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