Most of the time, we rely on traffic signals or signs to tell us what we have to do to be safe. But what if there are no signs or signals? Then, you have to exercise some common sense and understand Kentucky’s right-of-way laws that are in place to protect you. Most accidents in Kentucky happens when someone fails to yield the right of way. If you don't want to incur damages to your vehicle, or worse, cause injury to yourself, your passengers, or another motorist, it's best to understand and obey the right-of-way laws in Kentucky.
Summary of Kentucky’s right-of-way laws
The right-of-way laws in Kentucky can be summarized as follows:
All drivers must yield to pedestrians when they are in an intersection or crosswalk, and when there is no light.
You must yield to pedestrians if you are turning a corner, and there are pedestrians crossing with the light.
If you are turning left, you have to yield the right of way to vehicles that are either proceeding straight ahead, or turning right.
If you are entering a roundabout, you must yield the right of way to drivers that are already in the roundabout.
If you are approaching a main road from a minor road, then you must yield the right of way to motorists who are already on the main road.
If you are at a four-way, three-way, or two-way stop, then the driver who has reached the intersection first has the right of way, followed by the driver on the right.
You must always yield the right of way to any emergency vehicle if its lights are flashing and its siren is blaring. Pull over to the right, and stay there until the vehicle has moved on, or until a firefighter or police officer tells you to continue ahead.
Common misconceptions about Kentucky’s right-of-way laws
One of the most prevalent misconceptions among drivers in the State of Kansas concerns funeral processions. Perhaps you pull over when you see a funeral cortege, out of common courtesy, but did you know that the law actually requires you to do so? In Kansas, funeral processions always have the right of way at intersections, if accompanied by an escort with flashing lights. Funeral processions are required to yield only to trains or emergency vehicles. If you interfere with a funeral procession, you could be fined $250, or even be given 90 days in jail.
Penalties for failure to yield
In Kentucky, the penalties for failing to yield the right of way are very onerous. Failure to yield will result in having 3 demerit points assigned against your driver’s license, and a fine of $143. If you fail to yield to an emergency vehicle, the fine is the same, but you will be assessed four points.
For further information, refer to the Kentucky Driver Handbook, pages 10, 14, and 24.