Right-of-way laws in Kansas work to make traffic flow safely and smoothly and although they are entrenched in statute, they are really just common sense. If you are thinking about what you should do when dealing with other motorists, then there is almost certainly a law that backs it up.
Summary of Kansas’s right-of-way laws
If you are approaching an intersection, you must give the right of way to any vehicle that is already in the intersection.
If you and another driver enter an intersection at nearly the same time, you can waive the right of way to the other drive. The law, however states, that the vehicle on the right must be given the right of way.
If there are no signals or signs at an intersection, then the vehicle on the right has the right of way.
If you are turning left, you have to give the right of way to vehicles that are coming from the opposite direction. Cars proceeding straight through the intersection have the right of way.
If you are entering a public road from a private road, you have to yield right of way to vehicles that are on the public road.
If you are entering from a driveway or an alley, you have to stop and yield the right of way to vehicles in the road and to pedestrians on the sidewalk.
You may not block an intersection. Even if the light is green, and that means you are going to end up in the intersection when it turns red, you may not proceed.
Emergency and maintenance vehicles
An emergency vehicle (a police car, fire truck, ambulance, or any other vehicle related to emergency services) always has the right of way if they are sounding their sirens or air horns and flashing their lights.
You must also yield to vehicles and workers engaged in construction or road maintenance.
If you are approaching a crosswalk, and a pedestrian is waiting to cross, you must stop behind the painted line and wait for the pedestrian to cross.
Even if a crosswalk is not marked, you must still the yield right of way to a pedestrian.
Common misconceptions about Kansas’s right-of-way laws
Motorists in Kansas, and in many other states are often under the impression that if a pedestrian is crossing the street illegally (jaywalking, or crossing against a light), they do not have to yield. They are wrong. In the interest of safety, you have to yield to a pedestrian even if they are in violation of the right-of-way laws. This is because you have an implied duty as a motorist to prevent accidents. This also extends to other motor vehicles – if you are the first person at an intersection, for instance and you see that another motorist is going to try to run the light, you have to yield the right of way or risk being charged with reckless driving.
Penalties for failure to yield
In Kansas, if you fail to yield the right of way, you can be fined $75. If you fail to yield to an emergency vehicle, it can go up to $195. There is no points system in Kansas, but if you have 3 violations in any 12-month period, you could have your license suspended for a year.
For further information, see the Kansas Driving Handbook, pages 12-13 and 37.