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Car accidents: Why is the right of way law so confusing?

In every state, including Missouri, right of way laws exist. It is said that no other traffic law is as misunderstood as this one, which describes when a driver must yield to another vehicle. Indeed, many car accidents are blamed on one party's failure to yield. Although the laws do not actually state who has the right of way, they do specify who must yield. A driver required to yield in specific circumstances must allow the other driver to proceed first in a traffic situation.

When two drivers arrive at a stop sign on a cross street simultaneously, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right. The same goes for an uncontrolled crossing. However, when one driver clearly arrives at the intersection first, then he or she will have the right of way.

Vehicle operators must always yield to pedestrians in walkways and at intersections. Bicycles are regarded as vehicles, and they are subject to the same laws as operators of other vehicles. Drivers must always yield to oncoming traffic when they turn left and also before merging into traffic. Regardless of where and to which side they are, construction vehicles and emergency vehicles are always given the right of way.

While yielding and giving the right of way may remain a confusing matter to many, Missouri drivers who have suffered injuries in car accidents that resulted from the negligence of other parties may pursue claims for financial relief. Medical expenses are compensable, along with physical and emotional damages incurred due to a crash. A personal injury claim must be filed in a civil court, and upon proof of negligence, the court may award monetary recovery of documented claims for damages.

Source:, "Who Has the Right of Way?", June 26, 2016

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