Their View


Determining right of way; who’s right anyway?

By Bill McConnell - Assistant Police Chief - Wauseon Police Department



Recently, the Wauseon Police Department has received several complaints from citizens, and officers have witnessed, driving that has or may have contributed to accidents or near misses within the city. In the complaints received, callers stated others driving failed to yield at intersections or when driving down the street filled with parked cars when they felt they had the right of way. These near misses or when a crash occurs usually cause significant property damage and potentially serious injury to vehicle occupants. So who is right, when yielding the right of way?

Right of way rules help people drive safely. These rules go along with courtesy and common sense. Bicycle riders, moped drivers and pedestrians must also follow these rules.

The Ohio Revised Code 4511.41 addresses rules of right of way at intersections as such; when two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different streets or highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right.

The concept of the right of way is important to understand since the law never really grants the right of way. The law simply states when the right of way must be yielded and to whom. Failure to yield the right of way leads to crashes which can easily be prevented. Right of way must be yielded to other drivers in the following instances:

  • At a yield signs (most on highway interchanges);
  • To pedestrians in a crosswalk;
  • To persons using a seeing eye dog or white cane with a red tip;
  • At an uncontrolled intersection where vehicles are already in the intersection;
  • At “T” intersections where you must yield to oncoming pedestrians and vehicles;
  • When driving on an unpaved road that intersects with a paved road;
  • When returning a vehicle to the road after being parked and
  • When vehicles are parked on your side of the roadway and you must go around them, you must yield to oncoming vehicles.

Never insist on taking the right of way. Remember that courtesy and common sense go along way with traffic safety. If another driver is required to yield the right of way, but fails to do so, let the other driver go first. You will help prevent accidents and make driving safer and more pleasant.

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Determining right of way; who’s right anyway?

By Bill McConnell

Assistant Police Chief

Wauseon Police Department