The right-of-way laws in Idaho are in place to let motorists know when they are obligated to yield the right of way to another vehicle or to a pedestrian in order to keep traffic flowing smoothly and prevent collisions. A right of way is actually not a “right.” It is not something that you can take – it has to be given. You have the right of way when it is yielded to you.
Summary of Idaho's right-of-way laws
The following is an outline of the right-of-way laws in Idaho:
Vehicles must always give the right of way to pedestrians when they are in a crosswalk, whether it is marked or unmarked.
If you are entering a street from a driveway or alleyway, you must yield right of way to pedestrians.
Blind pedestrians, identified by the presence of a guide dog or from the use of a white cane, must always be accorded the right of way.
Pedestrians are required to yield to a motor vehicle if they are crossing where there is no crosswalk. However, even in this situation, it is the responsibility of the driver to do everything to avoid striking the pedestrian.
As a general rule, it does not matter what the speed limit is – you are required to slow down when you approach an intersection and assess the situation in order to determine if you can proceed safely.
You must yield the right of way to other drivers when:
You are approaching a yield sign
You are entering from a driveway or alleyway
You are not the first person at a 4-way stop – the first vehicle to arrive has the right of way, followed in sequence by vehicles on the right
You are turning left – unless a traffic signal indicates otherwise, you must yield to oncoming traffic
If the lights are not working – then, you have to yield in the same way you would at a 4-way stop
If an emergency vehicle like a police car, fire truck or ambulance is approaching from any direction, you must immediately pull over and yield right of way.
If you are in an intersection, keep moving until you are out of the intersection and then pull over. Remain stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed, or when you are directed to move on by emergency personnel like police officers or fire fighters.
Common misconceptions about Idaho's right-of-way laws
Many Idahoans do not realize that they are expected to exercise common sense, regardless of the law, when it comes to pedestrians. Even if a pedestrian is jaywalking, or crossing against a light, you still have to yield to them. They may be fined for their disregard of the law, but the motorist bears the responsibility of avoiding an accident, wherever possible.
Penalties for failing to yield
The penalties are the same state-wide in Idaho. For failing to yield, you will receive a fine of $33.50, plus other surcharges that will bring your total cost for this moving violation up to $90. You will also have three demerit points assigned to your license.
For further information, consult the Idaho Driver's Manual Chapter 2, pages 2-4 and 5.