The Guide to Right-of-Way Laws in Michigan

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When are you supposed to yield the right of way? Common sense would seem to dictate that you should do so any time it could prevent an accident. Of course, common sense does not always prevail, and that is why we have laws. So, here is a quick overview of the right-of-way laws in the state of Michigan.

Summary of Michigan’s right-of-way laws

The laws regarding the right-of-way in Michigan can be summarized as follows:

  • You must yield the right of way at any intersection where you see other vehicles or pedestrians.

  • You must yield the right of way to any vehicle, bicycle, or pedestrian that is already in an intersection.

  • If you are approaching an intersection, and there are no signs or signals, then you must yield the right of way to anyone who is already on the main road.

  • If you are turning left, you have to yield to oncoming traffic or pedestrians.

  • At a yield or stop sign, you must give the right of way to any motor vehicle, cyclist or pedestrian that is already in the intersection.

  • If you are approaching a four-way stop, then you must give the right of way to the vehicle that gets there first, and if you are unsure, then the vehicle on the right has the right of way.

  • If you are turning right on a red light, you must stop before proceeding, and then yield to any approaching traffic or pedestrians.

  • If you are turning left on a red light onto a one-way street, you must yield to traffic that is crossing.

  • If you are turning left from a two-way street onto a one-way, and the traffic is proceeding in the same direction as your turn, you must yield to approaching traffic, crossing traffic and pedestrians.

  • You must always yield if ordered to do so by a police officer, or by a flag person.

  • You must always give the right of way to emergency vehicles, regardless of the direction from which they are approaching, if they are sounding their sirens and flashing their lights.

Common misconceptions about Michigan’s right-of-way laws

Most of the time, people will yield to funeral processions out of courtesy, and no one is ever going to say that people in Michigan are not polite. In Michigan, it is the law that you yield to funeral processions. You can be fined if you fail to do so.

Penalties for failure to yield

In Michigan, if you fail to yield the right of way, you can have two demerit points attached to your license. Fines will vary from county to county, as they are at the court’s discretion.

For further information, consult State of Michigan: What Every Driver Must Know, Chapter 3, pages 24-26.


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