Yesterday I was driving through the Walmart parking lot (an adventure all its own, I assure you) when it dawned on me how many people are unaware of who has the right of way in most situations. Either that, or they are blatantly ignoring their knowledge, in which case there is no hope. I, however, am a believer in people, so why not review a few right of way laws?
Pedestrians ALWAYS Have the Right of Way
Seriously. If someone is crossing the street on foot they get first dibs. A person cannot compete with a car, the car will always win. To honk at a pedestrian crossing the street or to hurry past before they cross (especially at a crosswalk) is no different than bullying those around you. Most stores have a section of road in front of the doors where you need to stop for pedestrians who are filing out. Stopping is not optional, it is required just like every other stop sign in the city. I find this law of particular importance as I have two toddlers who don’t always listen when I say “don’t run out in the street” I am deathly afraid that someone who ignores this law will hit my children some day.
At a Four Way Stop, It’s the Person to Your Right or Who Ever Was First
Yet another place where I have been surprised at people who do not know the right of way rules. When you arrive at a four way stop at the same time as another person whomever is to the right gets to go first. If all the spots are filled and cars are taking turns going, anyone who is turning left must yield to those going straight, no matter how long you’ve been sitting there. You can be in the intersection, but the car opposite of you going straight must drive by before you get the chance to go.
Cross Roads Yield to Straight Roads
Another thing I noticed in the Walmart parking lot. People who are coming from the parking aisles think they have the right of way to people who are already on the straight roads. This is never the case. If someone is driving on the road at the front or the back of the parking lot anyone coming from the parking aisles should stop until the straight road is clear. The same thing applies to the city streets. In the neighborhood I live in there is one long street with a few intersecting streets along the way. There are no stop signs on the intersecting streets, but that doesn’t mean that the people coming from the cross streets can just go. Because there is a straight street and the other cars are the ones intersecting they need to yield, stop sign or not.
Last, although this isn’t really a right of way law, I just wanted to point out that The Directional Arrows in a Parking Lot Must be Followed. If there is an arrow pointing down an aisle you cannot drive up that aisle, period. It’s dangerous for everyone around you.
Right of way can be tricky, but if you follow the laws everyone is sure to stay safe.