What to Know About Washington’s Right-Of-Way Laws

Laws and regulations may become second nature for drivers who have been driving for a substantial amount of time. Laws like stopping at stop signs, red lights, and pausing at crosswalks for pedestrian traffic are habits that may be automatic for some drivers. However, there are drivers who may have become too cavalier in following all the rules of the road or are too new to recognize all of the laws and regulations at play in a busy intersection.

Whether negligent behavior on the road is due to inexperience, ignorance, or just disregard for others safety, neglecting to follow rules, like right-of-way, can lead to devastating accidents that injure others. If you have been terribly injured by a negligent driver due to disobeying right-of-way laws, you may be able to seek compensation for the losses you’ve experienced. Speak with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer at Premier Law Group for a thorough assessment of your case.

Washington Right-Of-Way Laws Every Driver Should Know

Abiding by right-of-way laws in Washington State may make the difference in a fatal accident and a safe environment on the road. It is essential to be knowledgeable and aware of the situations in which right-of-way laws apply and to recognize if you have been unknowingly breaking the law.

Yielding to Pedestrians in Washington

Pedestrians have the right-of-way on Washington crosswalks or other specific locations that may be unmarked. An intersection with no clear markings on the road may require pedestrians to cross from corner to corner.

It’s important to note that Washington is a contributory negligence state, meaning that if someone jaywalks, there is a reasonable expectation that a driver would stop in order for them to make it across the road safely. As long as there is reasonable time to stop, motorists are expected to always give pedestrians the right-of-way when crossing the street.

Right-Of-Way at a Stoplight in Washington

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Stoplights are an easy determinant of who has the right-of-way. In cities, a large bulk of the city is made up of stoplights determining the flow of traffic. A few examples that may cause drivers confusion or error are the following:

  • A solid green light that allows for yielded left turns: If two cars have a green light, and one is turning right and the other left onto the same street, the person who is making the right turn has the right-of-way.
  • A flashing yellow arrow: Drivers must yield to those with green lights, typically motorists going straight through the light on the opposite street.
  • Legal turn when the light is red: When making a legal turn on a red light, most motorists yield to those coming on their left but forget that those who have a legal U-turn would be turning onto the street on a green arrow.

Following right-of-way laws is important for your safety and those around you. If you have been in a right-of-way accident due to a driver’s negligence of right-of-way laws, you may be able to pursue damages for the injuries you’ve endured in your accident. Speak with a skilled Washington personal injury lawyer for legal guidance surrounding your case.

Right-Of-Way at an All-Way Stop Sign in Washington

Right-of-way laws can get increasingly complicated as intersections increase in lanes. Washington is known for large intersections that may get up to seven-way intersections. With most intersections, the right-of-way is determined by who arrives first at the stop sign. However, with intersections that allow for seven-way stops, the likelihood of you arriving first decreases. It may look confusing, but the rules of the road stay the same.

If you and another driver arrive at a large intersection simultaneously, you must yield to the car on the right. If you are across the way from another car, there is no need to yield unless the car is turning. In this case, the right-of-way belongs to the driver opting to go straight.

These types of intersections increase the chances of a driver failing to recognize the right-of-way and can increase the chances of an accident. With intersections with four or more lanes, it is best to take your time to evaluate who has the right-of-way and proceed with caution.

Yielding to Emergency Vehicles in Washington

Emergency vehicles who are flashing lights and loud sirens are, by law, exercising their right to the right-of-way. Others on the road at the time of the emergency need to yield to emergency vehicles. Typically, it is best to pull over to the right side of the road and let them pass. If you don’t have the opportunity to pull over, it is best to pause where you are to keep the path clear for the emergency vehicle to pass. However, never stop in the middle of an intersection when an emergency vehicle is nearby.

Steps to Take After a Right-Of-Way Accident in Washington

Accidents concerning right-of-way mistakes can occur in the blink of an eye. When this occurs, there are steps you can take to ensure your safety and how to initiate the steps to bolstering a personal injury claim to keep the at-fault driver accountable. Steps to take include:

  1. Call law enforcement and seek medical attention promptly
  2. Gather evidence such as pictures, videos, and interview witnesses
  3. Report the accident to your insurance company
  4. Speak with a Washington personal injury lawyer

Speaking with a skilled Washington personal injury lawyer promptly can help your personal injury claim significantly down the road. An experienced lawyer may help you gather important evidence and build a solid claim on your behalf.

Speak with an Experienced Washington Personal Injury Lawyer at Premier Law Group

A substantial amount of accidents each year are the result of a driver not being able to properly yield. Accidents can range in severity, but despite this, injuries can be lasting. Knowing the rules of the road guarantees your safety and others. If you have been injured in an accident due to the negligence of another driver, speak with a compassionate, client-oriented Washington lawyer at Premier Law Group. We understand the complex nature of personal injury law and can evaluate the evidence to build a solid case on your behalf.

The legal team at Premier Law Group is committed to providing the highest level of service for car accident victims and is dedicated to protecting your rights. We are proud to offer award-winning representation that allows victims to obtain accountability for the injuries they’ve endured. Call (206) 880-7518 or fill out our contact form to speak with a skilled car accident lawyer.