In Arkansas, right-of-way laws determine which vehicle proceeds first in traffic, and which vehicles have to wait. Most collisions occur because people do not understand the laws regarding right-of-way. The laws apply whether or not there are traffic signs or signals in place.
Summary of Arkansas right-of-way laws
When there are no signals or signs, certain rules apply. They are as follows:
At any time when proceeding could cause you to strike a pedestrian with your vehicle, you must yield the right of way to that pedestrian.
If you are crossing a sidewalk, you are required to yield to pedestrians.
Pedestrians who are walking with a guide dog or using a white cane have the right of way in all circumstances.
If you are turning left, you must yield to traffic that is proceeding straight.
If you are entering a traffic circle, you must yield to vehicles that are in the circle.
You may not enter an intersection if you are going to cause gridlock – in other words, remaining in the intersection and blocking traffic coming from your right or left.
If there is no stop sign at an intersection, you must yield to traffic on the right.
At a four-way or three-way stop, the vehicle that arrived first should be given the right of way. Then, right of way goes to the vehicles on the right.
Emergency vehicles, when the sirens or air horns are sounding, and the lights are flashing, must always be given the right of way.
If you are already in the intersection, proceed through it and then pull over.
Move as near to the right side of the road as possible.
Do not proceed until the emergency vehicle has moved on, or until a police officer tells you to do so.
Common misconceptions about Arkansas right-of-way laws
In Arkansas, and for that matter in many other states, drivers are often under the misapprehension that pedestrians are held to the same standard as motorists when it comes to right of way. In fact, they are not, and for good reason. A motorist is protected by a solid metal shell. A pedestrian has little or no protection. So even if the pedestrian is indisputably in the wrong – crossing against a light, jaywalking, or otherwise behaving carelessly – you are still obligated, as a driver, both legally and morally, to do all that you can to avoid striking a pedestrian.
You are also obligated to yield right of way to another motorist if not doing so could cause an accident, regardless of the circumstances.
Penalties for failure to yield right of way
Failure to yield right of way in Arkansas will automatically result in you having three points assigned against your driver’s license. Fines can vary substantially from location to location, but typically start at $75, and can go all the way up to $400.
For further information, consult the Arkansas Driver License Study Guide, pages 35-38.