Right-of-way laws in Georgia are designed to keep motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians safe. For example, at an intersection without traffic signals or stop signs, drivers must yield to other motorists turning right before turning left. Due to Georgia’s fault-based insurance laws, claiming compensation can be challenging if issues arise regarding liability and the right-of-way crop up.
This guide looks closely at Georgia’s right-of-way laws and how they may apply to your case.
Georgia Right-of-Way Laws Example One: Intersections
If you are faced with a stop sign at an intersection, you must yield the right-of-way to other motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians. When approaching a stop sign, slow down to a safe pace, even if the route seems clear, and only proceed when it is safe.
Intersections without Stop Signs or Traffic Signals
If you approach an intersection without traffic controls at the same time as another motorist, the driver on the left must yield the right-of-way to the driver on the right.
Busy four-way intersections where all drivers have stop signs can be tricky. Firstly, all drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. After this, the priority to proceed goes to the first driver who reaches the intersection.
If you arrive at the same time as another motorist, always yield the right-of-way to the traffic on your right. Once the way is clear, you can proceed, but always drive with care and common sense. Don’t take chances with gaps in traffic, either.
Another Driver Takes Your Turn at a Four-Way Intersection
If another motorist takes your turn at an intersection, let them proceed, even if you have the right-of-way. Waiting may be annoying, but it is always better to stay calm and err on the side of caution to keep everyone safe.
If you are turning left across traffic, you must always yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic.
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Georgia Right-of-Way Laws Example Two: Lane Merging
If the road you are traveling along merges into other traffic without stopping, you must yield to anyone already in the lane you’re moving into. Adjust your speed to match the traffic flow and pull into the traffic flow when there is enough room to merge safely.
It is important to pre-plan when merging lanes by observing what the other drivers are doing. For example, are they slowing down to let you in, or are they speeding up to create room behind them?
Georgia Right-of-Way Laws Example Three: Traffic Light Controls
Motorists must stop and yield the right of way to other drivers and pedestrians at intersections with traffic light controls. Ensure the way is clear before proceeding, regardless of whether you have a green light.
Inactive or Broken Traffic Light Controls
If you approach traffic lights that are not working, treat the intersection as if there is a stop sign for all possible directions and give priority to pedestrians. Then, proceed when the way is clear.
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Georgia Right-of-Way Laws Example Five: Special Considerations
There are a few more examples of when you must stop and yield the right-of-way where there are no specific traffic controls or signals. These can include:
GA Code § 40-6-163 was revised in February 2019. As such, you must stop and give right-of-way when a school bus stops for children. Exceptions to this rule apply when a school bus stops on a divided highway with four or more lanes and a raised physical barrier, in which case, only the traffic following the bus is required to stop.
Per GA Code § 40-6-75 (2020), road users must yield the right of way to authorized vehicles or highway construction workers within designated areas with temporary traffic controls, signals, or official vehicles with flashing or revolving amber lights.
According to Georgia’s ‘move over law,’ drivers must yield to emergency vehicles when they have their lights and sirens active.
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What To Do If Fault is Disputed after an Auto Accident
Right-of-way laws are designed to keep everyone who uses public roads and highways safe by regulating traffic movement. Failure to obey them can cause accidents resulting in serious injuries or fatalities. If you are involved in an auto accident because another driver did not yield the right-of-way when they should have, or they are disputing fault, there are a few things you can do to protect your health – and your finances.
Firstly, be sure to seek immediate medical attention if you are injured and take as much evidence as you can at the scene if it is safe to do so and you are able. Photographs of your injuries, the damage to the vehicles, and the accident scene, in general, can help to strengthen your case if the other driver disputes fault later on.
If you were unable to collect any evidence, our car accident lawyers can help. We can use your medical records, police reports, CCTV or dashcam footage, witness statements, and other sources of evidence to build a robust case.
Contact the Team at Kaine Law for a Free Consultation to Learn More About Georgia Right-of-Way Laws
At Kaine Law, we have been helping auto-accident victims pursue compensation for their injuries for decades.
If you were injured in an auto accident where the other driver did not yield the right of way, or if the fault is disputed in your claim, call for a free consultation with our team. We can help you to understand your legal options for making a compensation claim and help you to navigate the legal process.