What Does Yielding the Right of Way Mean in Colorado?

Though most of us have gone through a driver’s education course, it can be difficult to remember all of the minutia surrounding road rules. There are details and regulations that can easily become confusing, and many of us simply drive on autopilot the more we practice. Though this is natural, it is not necessarily safe.

Unfortunately, many adults who feel as though driving is second nature often make serious mistakes when they drive. If left unchecked, these habits can cause an accident, injury, or worse. Whether you recently went through driver’s education or did so decades ago, it’s important to understand what it means to yield the right of way. If you fail to execute these laws properly, you can easily hurt someone and make yourself liable to pay for the damages.

What does it mean to yield the right of way in Colorado?

Yielding the Right of Way

There are many different scenarios in which a driver may yield the right of way. However, the basic idea is that one driver is responsible for letting another driver or pedestrian move before they do. For example, when cars are turning left across traffic, the turning car must yield the right of way to the car going straight. This means the turning car must wait for the car going straight to pass before safely making the turn. If the right of way were reversed, the cars going straight would be responsible for waiting until the turning car went before proceeding forward.

Yielding to Pedestrians

It’s important to know that no matter the situation, pedestrians almost always have the right of way. This means you, as the driver, are responsible for letting the pedestrian proceed on their route before you may proceed on yours. If there is a crosswalk or intersection, the pedestrian should be allowed to go first before any cars can proceed through the crosswalk or intersection. If there is a green light at an intersection, cars turning right must wait for pedestrians to cross before proceeding.

These are just a few examples of when pedestrians have the right of way. According to Colorado law, pedestrians have the right of way over cars in every situation.

Yielding and Bicycles

Many bicyclists seem to forget that they have the same responsibilities as cars do when it comes to yielding the right of way. They must behave in the same way that vehicles do in the above situations, meaning that they must give priority to pedestrians as well. Unfortunately, many bicyclists fail to do this, which can cause serious bicycle and pedestrian accidents. Other bicyclists try to avoid this law by riding on the sidewalk. In all scenarios, they must be cognizant of pedestrians at all times and behave as any motor vehicle does.

Penalties for Failing to Yield

If you do not yield the right of way to the correct parties and a police officer catches you, you automatically get three points deducted from your license. You may also face a fine of anywhere from $60-$120. If you fail to yield to an emergency vehicle such as an ambulance or a fire truck, you get four points deducted from your license and a fine of anywhere from $80-$160. These punishments only apply if you fail to yield but don’t hurt anyone.

If you fail to yield and cause an accident or injury, there are more charges you could face. You could face personal injury, wrongful death, or even vehicular manslaughter charges depending on your situation. It’s important to understand that license points and fines are a best case scenario. The reality may be much worse.

Under the right circumstances, failing to yield could cost you significant time in prison. For this reason, it’s important to take all road rules seriously and adhere to them closely.

FAQs

What Is the Difference Between Yielding and the Right of Way?

These two terms are very similar. Yielding is the action of waiting for another car or pedestrian to proceed before moving forward on one’s own route. The right of way describes which party should be able to proceed without slowing or stopping to wait for someone else. The person who has the right of way can proceed without delay, while the yielding party must slow or stop to accommodate the other person.

What Are Two Examples of Yielding Right of Way?

One example would be if you arrive at a four-way stop at the same time as another car. According to the law, the car to the immediate right has the right of way and should go first, while the car on the left waits for the other to pass. Another example occurs when going through a roundabout. The cars inside have the right of way, while the cars entering the traffic circle must wait for an appropriate time to merge into traffic. In other words, the latter must yield.

How Do You Know Who Has the Right of Way at an Intersection?

The driver who arrives at an intersection first has the right of way. If multiple cars arrive at the intersection around the same time, they can depart in the order that they arrived. If multiple cars arrive at the same time, the car on the right goes first. If there is a pedestrian at the intersection, they have the right of way before any cars do, even if they arrive at the intersection after one of the vehicles.

In What Driving Situations Would You Yield the Right of Way?

There are many situations in which you may need to yield the right of way. Examples include:

  • When merging into traffic
  • When turning left
  • When approaching a pedestrian crosswalk
  • When going into a traffic circle or roundabout

There are many other situations that may require you to yield the right of way. There are many yield signs that dictate special scenarios where a driver must wait for others to pass.

Contact the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal

For nearly two decades, our team at the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal has been helping individuals and families who are the victims of car accidents or other personal injury scenarios. With our help, you can get the compensation you need and deserve after an accident.

For more information about how we can help in your case, please contact us online today.